COLUMBUS (WCMH) – In the wake of protests over racial injustice, a controversial bill at the Ohio Statehouse is seeing a surge in opposition – the state’s Stand Your Ground bill.
In just 24 hours, more than 75 people signed up to give testimony Tuesday, which lasted for nearly five hours.
Ohio’s Stand Your Ground bill has been debated for a while now. Basically, the bill allows gun owners to stand their ground in public places and use deadly force in self-defense. As of right now, citizens have a duty to retreat before using deadly force.
The House Criminal Justice Committee announced Monday it was adding the bill to Tuesday’s agenda. In that time, more than 75 testimonies were submitted opposing the bill.
Supporters said the bill allows people to defend themselves without having to retreat, while critics of the bill said it increases gun deaths, especially in communities of color.
Critics say bringing the bill up for debate during this time of civil unrest is drawing criticism from some lawmakers.
“A lot of people are upset that a Stand Your Ground bill during this time, when people are fighting race-based inequality, that a bill like that would even be considered right now,” said Democratic Rep. David Leland. “So people want to come down and testify against it.”
Republican Rep. George Lang, the chairman of the committee, sets the agenda for meetings. He was not present for Tuesday’s hearing.
House Speaker, Republican Rep. Larry Householder, also has power to block or move any bill. In the early days of June, he delayed voting another gun-related bill because of the current climate.
No decision has been made if the bill would get a vote this week.
A second day of testimony is set to be held Wednesday.