COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As time winds down at the Ohio Statehouse for the lame-duck session, the gun reform debate is heating up.
“We’re trying really hard to go in the direction of less gun violence not more,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
The Ohio Senate and the Ohio House could move on a bill that would eliminate a person’s duty to retreat before using force when they feel threatened. Right now, a person is required to retreat unless that person is in their home or vehicle.
“When a person is attacked in their own home, for example, they’ve got a right to defend themselves immediately if they are in fear for their safety,” said Rob Sexton, Legislative Affairs Director with Buckeye Firearms Association. “But when you are outside of your home, Ohio law requires that a person under duress seek avenues of escape before they would be legally allowed to defend themselves.”
Opponents of the bill say it will promote violence, especially in public places.
“Stand your ground is incredibly dangerous, actually increases gun violence, and disproportionately affects people of color,” said Mayor Whaley.
Sexton said this bill is merely about the safety of law-abiding citizens.
“No one wants to seek out a life-or-death situation because there’s no guarantee you’re going to come through it so I don’t believe these types of laws increase crime, I think they simply give a victim a fighting chance,” said Sexton.
After the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio in August of 2019, Governor Mike DeWine introduced his STRONG Ohio proposals, that would increase and improve background checks among other measures. This legislation has seen very little movement despite calls from Governor DeWine.
“We’ve called for action to curb gun violence; we’ve seen none of those actions from the state legislature. Instead, we see things like this moving forward that actually increase gun violence,” said Mayor Whaley.
Mayor Whaley is asking Governor DeWine to veto any version of the “Stand Your Ground” bill that may pass the legislature before the end of the year.