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New Gun Bill Would Change Ohio’s Test for Determining if Shooting is in Self-Defense

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM

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Republican Rep. Terry Johnson, at the lectern, is sponsoring the bill to change Ohio's gun laws. (Photo: Jo Ingles)

Ohio lawmakers are taking up a bill that would change the state's gun laws. Some are calling this Ohio’s Stand Your Ground bill. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, backers of this legislation say that’s not a good way to portray it.

The controversial so-called Stand your Ground law in Florida gives people there the right to use deadly force in their defense without being required to retreat.

The Buckeye Firearms Association’s Ken Hansen says the bill under consideration in Ohio is different from the Stand your Ground law that is on the books in the Sunshine state. He says there would still be a standard that the person firing the weapon in self-defense would not be allowed to create the situation that put him or her at risk.

And Hansen notes there would still be a requirement that the person firing in self-defense legitimately feel as if their life or well-being were in danger.

But Hansen says a current requirement now on the books mandating the person retreat from the situation would be removed.

“It doesn’t create any new powers to use self-defense. It doesn’t create situations that don’t exist currently,” Hansen said. “All that would happen is rather than having a three-step lethal force test, it would simply be a two-step lethal force test.”

The bill would also, among other things, reduce training requirements, would require instant background checks and would make increase reciprocity with other states. 

Toby Hoover, Director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, says there is no reason to remove the requirement that Ohioans must retreat before firing in self-defense.

“It’s always, ‘I shouldn’t have to retreat when I’m being attacked.’ You don’t have to retreat when you are being attacked,” Hoover said. “You have to retreat before the attack. You have to prevent it.”

Hoover says this bill would allow Ohio to weaken its gun laws when other states are considering strengthening theirs.

This isn’t the first time Ohio lawmakers have considered a bill implementing changes to Ohio’s gun laws. A similar bill was introduced, but wasn’t passed, last year. Backers of this plan say the changes that have been made should help it get more support from lawmakers. 

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Courts/Crime - Fire/Law Enforcement, Government/Politics

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