An Ohio lawmaker says law-abiding high school students who are over the age of 18 should be able to carry long guns in public high schools.
It came up during an exchange between Rep. Niraj Antani and Zach Dickerson, who is a candidate for Antani’s seat.
“Students deserve a chance to stand their ground and defend themselves,” Antani said.
“Wow. You want to arm teachers AND students. We should definitely discuss that at the meeting,” Dickerson replied.
“The more people who carry, the safer we will all be,” said Antani.
Antani clarified his comments to the Dayton Daily News.
“The law is anybody above 21 can have a handgun and anybody above 18 can have a long gun, and so anyone who complies with the law should be able to carry and protect themselves,” Antani said.
“My view is that anyone who is of age should be able to carry a firearm wherever they want,” Antani told the paper. “The only restriction I believe in is for private property.”
“I think a lot of elected officials are afraid to give their view; I’m not,” Antani said. “My view is that gun-free zones don’t work and that if you are a law-abiding citizen you should be able to protect yourself.”
Dickerson engaged Antani and shared his position extensively, including with a tweet on Thursday: “Do you think arming teachers is a bad idea? @NirajAntani wants to arm the students too. This is dumb and dangerous policy.”
Antani said Dickerson mischaracterized his position by suggesting he wanted to “arm students.”
“I’m not arming anyone and that is a completely wrong term,” he said. “You are not arming anyone. You are allowing them to exercise their constitutional right to protect themselves, and gun-free zones rob us of those rights.”
Antani said he has long been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, so his stance should come as no surprise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.