With the present law, Ohioans have the right to defend themselves against an intruder in their homes, but some lawmakers are working on broadening that law.
It is known as "stand your ground," and we have been hearing a lot about it since a national case in Florida. Ohio has the Castle Doctrine, which allows for a person who feels threatened in their home or vehicle to use deadly force without a duty to retreat. The proposed law, House Bill 203 gives people the right to use deadly force without first trying to escape or retreat anywhere they are legally allowed to be. 22 states already have a stand your ground style law on the books, now Ohio could be the 23rd.
"It is a statement of where we are becoming in our society of a fearful society, so that we make some assumptions about what is going to happen," said Ted Celeste, a board member of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.
A Columbus attorney who specializes in 2nd Amendment laws said the present self defense law for using deadly force has three conditions:
1. You must not have picked a fight.
2. There is a real belief the you are in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm and that the use of deadly force was the only way to escape danger.
3. If you can escape or retreat, you must do so. The new proposed law could do away with the language referring to the duty to retreat.
"It is going to be easier for them to show a jury they acted in self defense and there is not this confusion of this third condition thrown in there that a jury might not understand," said attorney Derek Debrosse.
Mark Lucas is the training director at LEPD Firearms and Range.
"All the stand your ground law is doing is giving the victim a chance to protect themselves fairly," Lucas said.
"We do not oppose the 2nd Amendment and the right to defend yourself. But at the same time, we certainly have concerns with 'stand your ground' provisions that would allow something like what happened in Florida," said Rep. Alicia Reece, D-Cincinnati, president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
The sponsor of HB 203, Rep. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott said, "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."
Lawmakers will be back in session after the Labor Day weekend.
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