Ohio representative’s objection to ‘Stand Your Ground’ gaveled down by Speaker

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Ohio House passed the controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill Wednesday.

If it becomes law, it would change the rules for self-defense. Under current law, if someone shoots to kill, they must prove the shooting was justified. Under ‘stand your ground’, the burden shifts to the prosecution to try to prove the shooting was not justified.

The debate in the House Wednesday also shifted, from guns to a heated exchange about race.

“What do you do in spaces and places when your presence, literally your face – your face – causes someone to be fearful of you?” said Cleveland Rep. Stephanie Howse on the House floor.

Howse says Ohio prosecutors and the NAACP all oppose ‘Stand Your Ground’ because it disproportionately harms people of color, who are often feared simply because of racial bias. She also says the 32 sponsors of the bill live in districts that are disproportionately white.

“Representative Terry Johnson, 94.9% white constituents, 2.4% black constituents,” said Howse.

Speaker Ryan Smith gaveled Howse down, saying there are rules against naming lawmakers.

“We’re talking about constituencies and the impact of this legislation and the impact on constituencies,” said Howse, objecting to being gaveled down.

“And I’m asking you to leave the personalities away from it,” replied Speaker Smith.

Smith then cut Howse’s mic, saying, “The lady will take her seat and quit being disruptive.”

After the House voted 64-26 in favor of the legislation, Speaker Smith defended his decision to gavel her down.

“I didn’t gavel her down hard, I just tried to get her attention,” said Smith. “And Frankly, she insinuated that myself and Johnson and LaTourette  are racist, and I find that infuriating.”

“The voices of Ohioans have been shut out,” said Howse. “Silenced for the moment for this important piece of legislation from their side that will have grave consequences.”

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