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November 13, 2018

Interesting news on self-defense reform in Ohio during lame duck time

This local story, headlined "Ohio House set to approve stand-your-ground gun bill," caught my eye for obvious reasons. Here are excerpts:

The Ohio House on Wednesday is expected to approve a controversial stand-your-ground bill that eliminates a “duty to retreat” when facing a threat before utilizing deadly force.

Supporters say House Bill 228, which also includes a number of other firearm-related provisions, would put Ohio law in line with about half of other states by shifting the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defendant to the prosecution.

House Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, said last spring, prior to the legislature’s summer/election break, that the House had a veto-proof majority to pass the bill. However, a vote was delayed until after the election, though a veto from Gov. John Kasich remains a strong possibility. Kasich has been upset GOP lawmakers have refused to act on gun-violence reduction proposals he made, including a “red flag” provision to allow a judge to order the removal of guns from people deemed a danger.

The bill is opposed by the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, plus other gun-control proponents.  Critics say it would give those involved in a conflict less incentive to try to de-escalate or escape before resorting to lethal force.

Prosecutors have argued that current law allows those who are truly being threatened with serious harm to use a weapon in self-defense, and it’s reasonable to require a defendant to prove self-defense by a preponderance of evidence — a lesser standard than “beyond reasonable doubt.”

But supporters, including Doug Deeken, director of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, say removing the “duty to retreat” is positive, common-sense reform.  “What a ‘duty to retreat’ functionally does is force law-abiding citizens into making tactically poor choices when confronted with a violent, criminal aggressor,” Deeken told a House committee.  “While retreating may sometimes, even often, be part of the proper course of action it is not always so.”...

If passed, the bill goes to the Senate.  Lawmakers are in session through mid-December.

As if too often the case with poor reporting on legal issues, I am not sure everything in this report is factually accurate.  But I am sure there is continued momentum for continued changes to the functionality of Ohio's law of self-defense.

November 13, 2018 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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