Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Opponents of 'stand your ground' in Ohio gear-up

Members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus have been hosting rallies and circulating petitions at churches and businesses, looking to create grassroots opposition to House Bill 203, a gun bill that includes a “stand your ground” provision, reported the Columbus Dispatch.

County prosecutors and a variety of law-enforcement groups also oppose the provision, which would eliminate an Ohio law requiring a person to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, so long as the person is carrying a firearm lawfully and is in a place where he or she has the right to be.

“We do not oppose the Second Amendment and the right to defend yourself,” said Rep. Alicia Reece, D-Cincinnati, president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. “But at the same time, we certainly have concerns with ‘stand your ground’ provisions that would allow something like what happened in Florida.

“We don’t want folks who aren’t trained to follow innocent people around and, because of their own internal issues, decide they have the right to engage and shoot another individual.”

At least 22 states have “stand your ground” laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“When an Ohio citizen is in peril of serious bodily harm or even death at the hands of an attacker, his or her first duty should be self-defense, not a duty to retreat and hope for the best,” Rep. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, the bill sponsor, said in a statement. “The fact is that people who are confronted with life-threatening attacks often face a split-second decision, and Ohioans deserve to have clear laws that do not undermine our natural right to defend ourselves."

Fifteen House Republicans have signed on to the bill, which had one committee hearing before the summer recess. Lawmakers return after Labor Day.

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