Ohio lawmaker Niraj Antani says he is ‘not advocating the arming of students’

The Indian American lawmaker says he did a “poor job of communicating” his position.

Ohio State Representative Niraj Antani, who earlier suggested that students 18 and above should be allowed to openly carry long guns to schools, said on Friday that he is “not advocating the arming of students.”

Responding to a tweet from a Democratic primary candidate, the Indian American lawmaker had said on Wednesday that “Students deserve a chance to stand their ground and defend themselves…The more people who carry, the safer we will all be.”

Democrat Zach Dickerson, who is gunning for Antani’s seat, questioned in a tweet the lawmaker’s support for a pro-gun bill introduced in the Ohio House.

RELATED: Ohio’s Indian American state representative Niraj Antani wades into gun bill controversy (March 16, 2018)

Niraj Antani

Antani is a cosponsor of the bill which was passed by the House in July 2017. Currently before a state Senate committee, the bill proposes “to provide an opportunity for a concealed handgun licensee or qualified military member to avoid charges for carrying a deadly weapon into a prohibited place if the person leaves upon request, and to penalize failure to leave upon request or returning with a firearm.”

On Friday, following criticism of tweet, Antani said he did a “poor job of communicating” his position, and apologized for that. “I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt by contacting with directly so I can better explain my position,” he said in a statement.

Here’s his full statement:

Yesterday, I learned a lesson. A reporter asked me a question about 2nd Amendment issues. I told the reporter I believed that gun free zones do not work, and that every law abiding person who is of age has a right to carry to defend themselves. I am not advocating the arming of students. I am not proposing or introducing any bill or legislation dealing with what was in the Dayton Daily News and WHIO. I did a poor job of communicating my position, and I apologize for that. I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt by contacting with directly so I can better explain my position. Thank you.

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