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Government & Politics

DeWine's Decision to Sign 'Stand Your Ground' Bill Draws Sharp Criticism

a photo of guns
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Akron May Dan Horrigan says firearms violence increases under bills like the one passed by Ohio lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to sign the so-called Stand Your Ground gun bill into law isn’t sitting well with some city and state leaders who thought they were making headway in their fight against gun violence. 

When Gov. Mike DeWine proposed his own gun reform plan last year, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley  was one of the city leaders who stood beside him. Whaley, a Democrat, has been an outspoken advocate for gun reform since the mass shooting that killed nine people in her city in 2019. 

Whaley says the “Stand your Ground” bill will make communities less safe and disproportionately hurts African-Americans.

“What’s really sad is I think the governor knows that and decided political expediency is more important," Whaley says.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks on behalf of Gov DeWine's gun reform plan
Credit Jo Ingles
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks on behalf of Gov DeWine's gun reform plan

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan also issued a statement opposing the legislation, citing studies that have linked similar laws to increased firearm homicides, shootings of police officers in the line of duty and armed vigilantism. "As our community works toward greater equity and opportunity, this law sends a divisive message that welcomes violence and reduces consequences for deadly mistakes," Horrigan wrote. "I wish our leaders in Columbus understood that and would advocate for policies that will actually make Akron and all of Ohio, safer."

Toby Hoover with the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence agrees. She says she thought DeWine was taking what she calls a more reasonable approach to gun rights. 

“Then for him to turn around and do this is like the opposite just because his own party is arguing with him about everything that he does," Hoover says.

In recent weeks, there has been some talk among Republicans, including President Donald Trump, that DeWine should face a primary in the next election. DeWine's fellow Republican lawmakers have not taken action on his gun reform plan.  

DeWine points out he promised during his campaign that he would sign the "Stand Your Ground" bill into law if it came before him. But he says he is going to continue to push for the changes he's proposed in his plan as well because they could make Ohio safer.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.