Breaking down Ohio’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill in light of recent Florida shooting

Ohio Statehouse Newsroom

Recently, a man in Clearwater, Florida was shot and killed during a dispute in a store parking lot over a handicapped parking space.

According to reports the man, his girlfriend and their child stopped at the store and he ran inside to get something.

The girlfriend waited in the car parked in a handicapped parking space.

Another man confronted the woman about parking in the space and they got into an argument.

The woman eventually got out of the car and the argument continued, that was when her boyfriend returned.

The boyfriend shoved the other man who was in a verbal altercation with his girlfriend to the ground and started to back away.

That’s when the man on the ground pulled a gun out of his pocket and shot the boyfriend in the chest.

The entire exchange was captured by a surveillance camera.

According to the sheriff, there was a pause between when the man hit the ground and when he shot the boyfriend.

The sheriff says that pause gives him pause about the justification for the shooting.

Still, the sheriff says he could not arrest the shooter because it appeared he was protecting himself, and that it would be up to the state (prosecutors) to determine if the shooting was justified.

This entire situation could happen here in Ohio, and right now the shooter would be charged because there is no Stand Your Ground law in place here as there is in Florida.

But if the bill Lawmakers are considering at the Ohio Statehouse were in place, the shooter may not have been arrested here either.

Lawmakers have been working on a Stand Your Ground bill for much of this General Assembly.

Governor John Kasich has already stated on several occasions that he will not sign a Stand Your Ground bill if the legislature sends it to him.

The House of Representatives has already passed the bill out of their chamber and it is waiting for Senators to get back from Summer Break before it could receive committee hearings this fall.

The bill eliminates the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense or the defense of another in public.

The law will not cover someone if they provoke another person to use force or the threat of force against them. There are two exceptions to this.

They are covered by the law if they try to escape and cannot and believe they are in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. They are also covered by the law if the person who provoked the threat withdraws from physical contact and clearly indicates a desire to get away and the person who was provoked continues to use force or threatens to use force against them.

The law will not cover someone if they are committing a felony level crime; or if they shoot a police officer carrying out their duties or trying to arrest them; or if they have been prohibited from possessing a firearm.

The bill also makes illegally carrying concealed handguns a misdemeanor offense, no matter how many times you are busted doing it.

And the penalties do eventually reach felony level, but the crime will still be considered a misdemeanor. That means illegally carried concealed handguns will never violate the stand your ground portion of the law.

Finally, the bill shifts the burden of proof from the defendant, using self-defense as a defense at trial if charges are brought against them, to the prosecutors who will have to consider if they can prove someone did not act in self-defense before they bring charges against the shooter.

It should be noted, Ohio is currently the only state that forces defendants to show they acted in self-defense. With that said, the level by which defendants have to show they acted in self-defense is a lower standard than what the state has to achieve to convict them otherwise.
In other words, defendants do not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they acted in self-defense, they just have to show that their actions were reasonable based on the evidence, while the prosecution currently has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt they committed a crime.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on

Today's Central OH Forecast

More Forecast

Don't Miss