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Government and Politics

Gun groups say Ohio's "Stand Your Ground" law would differ from Florida's
Opponents say it loosens requirements that have served Ohio well

Jo Ingles
GOP Ohio Rep.Terry Johnson with supporters explains his gun bill.
Courtesy of JO INGLES
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In The Region:

Lawmakers are taking up a bill that would change gun laws in Ohio. Some are calling this Ohio’s stand-your-ground bill. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, backers of the legislation insist that’s not a good way to portray it.

LISTEN: When to retreat, when to fire?

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The controversial “Stand your Ground” law in Florida gives people there the right to use deadly force in their defense without being required to retreat.

The Buckeye Firearms Association’s Ken Hansen says the bill under consideration in Ohio differs from Florida’s. He says that’s because it would include a standard that the person firing the weapon in self-defense could not be the one who created the situation that put him or her at risk in the first place.

While gun groups were supporting Ohio's version of a stand-your-ground law, Cleveland Congresswoman Marcia Fudge was testifying against such laws in Congress. Here's a copy of her remarks: 

And Hansen notes there would still be a requirement that the person legitimately feels as if his or her life or well-being is in danger.  But Hansen says a current requirement now on the books mandating the person retreat from the situation would be removed.

“It doesn’t create any new powers to use self-defense. It doesn’t create situations that don’t exist currently. All that would happen is rather than having a three-step lethal force test, it would simply be a two-step lethal force test.”

The bill would also  reduce training requirements, would require instant background checks and would increase reciprocity for gun ownership with other states.

Toby Hoover is director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. She syas there is no reason to remove the requirement that Ohioans must retreat before firing.

“It’s always I shouldn’t have to retreat when I’m being attacked. You don’t have to retreat when you are being attacked. You have to retreat before the attack. You have to prevent it.”

Hoover says this bill would allow Ohio to weaken its gun laws when other states are considering strengthening theirs.

This isn’t the first time Ohio lawmakers have considered a bill implementing changes to Ohio’s gun laws. A similar bill was introduced, but wasn’t passed, last year. Backers of this plan say the changes that have been made to it should help it get more support from lawmakers.

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