Hearing held on proposed Stand Your Ground bill at Ohio Statehouse

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A return to the wild west.

That’s what some warn will happen if Ohio removes the duty to retreat from the state’s self-defense laws.

It’s something lawmakers are considering at the statehouse, where, on Tuesday, the public was asked about the so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill.

“I am tired of this irresponsible legislation,” said Lara Kowalcyk with Students For Change.

From student activists to mothers worried about their children, critics are coming out against Ohio’s so-called Stand Your Ground bill.

“I see this bill as opening the doors to a return to the wild west, shoot-first environment,” said Columbus mother Shela Blanchard.

Those critics include the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

“(It’s) a bill that we think is unnecessary, that poses risks to public safety and will create new burdens, both financial and practical, on our justice system,” said Louis Tobin with the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

Now in its fourth hearing, the Stand Your Ground bill would remove the duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense and would give the shooter immunity from prosecution.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican State Sen. Terry Johnson, calls self-defense a basic human right and the bill necessary in order for people to defend themselves.

“We need laws that will diffuse confrontations,” Kowalcyk said.

A similar Stand Your Ground bill failed in 2018 under then-governor John Kasich, something students like Kowalcyk hope happen again.

“This bill is a recipe for more shootings,” she said.

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