News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Hennes Paynter Communications

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

“Stand Your Ground” passes Ohio House
Ohio's version of "Stand Your Ground" would eliminate the so-called “duty to retreat” requirement, which says a person who feels threatened must attempt to escape before using deadly force.

Karen Kasler
Early on, gun supporters backed Terry Johnson's efforts to establish "stand-your-ground" in Ohio.
Courtesy of Ohio Public Radio
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
A measure that’s called Ohio’s version of “Stand Your Ground” has passed the Ohio House, after two hours of passionate arguments and a mid-debate protest. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.
LISTEN: The pitched battle over Ohio's stand-your-ground bill

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:50)

The bill would eliminate the so-called “duty to retreat", which says a person who feels threatened must try to escape before using deadly force. And it expands the situations beyond homes and cars in which weapons can be used. They now include any places where a person is legally allowed to be, such as streets and stores.

The bill's sponsor is Republican Rep. Terry Johnson, who took issue with the way some Democrats have characterized the bill. 

“There’s no 'kill-at-will' here," Johnson insisted. "This is not an expansion of castle doctrine.”

'Somebody's going to die'
Johnson said the Ohio bill differs from Florida law, which has been singled out by critics after the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. But critics weren’t buying that. Fred Strahorn is a Democrat from Dayton. 

“We forget that our actions have weight; there will be consequences," Strahorn said. "You pass this -- somebody’s going to die because of this. Absolutely. It’s already happened. George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin are not an isolated case.”

Democrat Alicia Reece from Cincinnati said she supports the right to bear arms, but also said she represents 10,000 people who signed a petition to stop the bill. 

“We know what the provision in House Bill 203 – the “stand your ground/kill at will” provision, we’ve already seen what it does when it goes wrong," Reece said. "We’ve already seen when we allow citizens to become judge, juror and executioner.”

Safeguards in Ohio
But sponsor Terry Johnson said existing Ohio law prevents such a scenario. 

“Those who say that this change will encourage people to take up vigilantism are flat-out wrong," Johnson said. "Despite this change, Ohio will still be one of the hardest states in the union to prove self-defense in a court of law. That’s because our burden of proof for demonstrating self-defense is so much higher than in most states.”

Democrats remained unconvinced. Bob Hagan of Youngstown said he had voted for the creation of concealed-carry in Ohio, but said this bill will bring needless violence. 

'Come out of the suburbs'
“Come to Youngstown and Cleveland and Cincinnati," Hagan said. "Come out of the suburbs, folks, and see what the heck is going on. And you will see exactly what is going on – the fear that we have in passing legislation that does absolutely nothing but get the people that supported this so excited that supported you, like the NRA.”

But Republican Matt Lynch said the Democrats were using “scaremongering and radical accusations” in describing the bill, which he said includes mostly common-sense reforms along with a needed change in the duty to retreat provision. 

“Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, if anyone ever proposed that in order to exercise your First Amendment rights, that you need training, or that somehow the government would have to approve of what you’re going to do in advance," Lynch said. "We’d never stand for that. We’d never stand for that when it comes to our right to worship, either. Ah, but when it comes to gun rights, somehow it’s OK.”

Six Democrats join all Republicans
The debate was interrupted at one point by protesters who oppose the bill, as captured by reporter Mark Kovac for his Ohio Capital Blog site. 

“O-H-I-O! Stand Your Ground has got to go!”

They unfurled a banner that read “Vote No on Stand Your Ground”, which was pulled up quickly in accordance with House rules. The proceedings resumed a few moments later after the demonstrators were led from the balcony out of the chamber. In the end, the bill passed overwhelmingly, with six Democrats joining all the Republicans in voting for it.

It now moves on to the Ohio Senate.

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

More join the battle against Ohio's current forfeiture laws
NOT TRUE IN OHIO! ! My cousin's 8 rental houses were siezed in the early 2000s. He was a decorated Cleveland Police officer and detective (now retired). His dis...

Great Lakes conference considers a range of threats
Your article states "Studies discovered over half of all PAHs found in the Great Lakes region come from a single source: Coal tar sealants.". I'm curious to whi...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University