Ohio Legislature Sends ‘Stand Your Ground’ Gun Bill to Governor

by Jon D. B.

A high-profile gun bill will head to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine a day after the state made changes to the self-defense law.

“My right to defend myself in the United States and in Ohio from serious bodily harm or death should be extended to anywhere I am lawfully allowed to be without a duty to retreat,” says State Representative Kyle Koehler (R) of Springfield.

Such is the heart of the debate over Ohio’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law according to Koehler. Late into the night, Rep. Koehler proposed that an amendment be made to SB175. The bill grants civil immunity for deaths or injuries from handguns.

Koehler’s amendment takes wording from his own “Stand Your Ground” bill. This bill, Koehler says, protects people in dangerous situations. The controversy surrounding the gun bill stems from its removal of the “duty to retreat” requirement. This affects a person’s ability to retreat before a person can use lethal force in self defense.

Regardless of said controversy, the Ohio senate passed it mere hours after proposed changes from the Ohio House.

Whether the gun bill will become full law, however, has yet to be decided. It now heads to Governor Mike DeWine. Republican DeWine has yet to comment on whether or not he will sign it.

The “Stand Your Ground” Gun Bill Controversy

Ohio is one of many states that is still feverishly dealing with the “Stand Your Ground” controversy. The original law came under national scrutiny after the murder of Black Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin.

To this end, Ohio State Representative Stephanie Howse (D) of Celeveland argues that gun violence rises in “Stand Your Ground” states.

“These statistics that will tell you, when it comes to this amendment, Black people are going to die disproportionately than white people,” Howse says to WOSU Public Media. “And if you feel a certain type of way by me calling out Black people, white people, ask yourself, why?”

Her Republican colleague, Senator Peggy Lehner of Kettering, however, says the “bill does not do anything to decrease gun violence or send the proper message.” As such, term-limited Sen. Lehner voted against the changes.

“It’s time to put the anger and hatred that seems to be consuming our country aside. And I think we can do a heck of a lot better than having people pack their guns when they are going out for an evening stroll,” Lehner rebukes.

Despite this opposition, the Ohio Senate approved the state’s House changes to the bill with an 18-11 vote. Several politicians, including both Republicans and Democrats who originally co-sponsored the bill, asked to have their names removed from the amended legislation.

Currently, Ohio Police Chiefs oppose the legislation change, and call on Gov. DeWine to veto the bill. The change comes within a year of unprecedented gun sales.

[H/T WOSU Public Media]