Ohio’s Senate Bill 175, which is more popularly known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, took effect Tuesday, marking the Buckeye State as the latest to join three dozen other US states, across the Land of the Free.
The law, which was signed in January by Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH), emphasizes that a legal gun owner can use deadly force if they reasonably believe it is in defense of life. The legislation also expands on the description of self-defense, noting that it also applies in public.
DeWine cleared the bill despite criticism from many Republican lawmakers who argued that the governor went against his own 2019 legislation that sought to toughen background checks and boost penalties for felons committing new crimes with guns.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) January 4, 2021
These legislative reforms to address gun violence were proposed following the August 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, that saw Connor Betts shoot 26 people, killing nine and injuring 17 others. Betts later died after being fatally shot by police outside of Blind Bob’s bar in Dayton.
In response to the passing of the “Stand Your Ground” law, Ohio State Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, who represents the state’s Richmond Heights district, told NBC that “this is not what people meant when they asked us to ‘do something’ last year after the deadly mass shooting in Dayton.”
— Nan Whaley (@nanwhaley) April 5, 2021
Earlier, after signing the bill into law in January, DeWine acknowledged in a statement that he has “always believed that it is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation.”
The law allows an individual to use deadly force in public areas so long as they are not the aggressor, and reasonably and honestly believe the action to be necessary in order to prevent serious bodily harm or death.
The “Stand your Ground” law first passed in Florida in 2005 and has since been featured in a study by the American Journal of Public Health, which alleges that self-defense laws do not deter violent crime.
Others, including gun rights groups, have praised DeWine for signing the bill.
“We were quite happy that the governor followed through on his campaign promises to enact, to remove the duty-to-retreat requirement in the self-defense law in Ohio,” Joe Eaton, of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said in an interview with WLWT5.
Eaton further insisted that the “Stand Your Ground” law does not mean someone can shoot first and ask questions later. “Of course, retreating, if at all possible, is still the safest and best and most recommended method because if you can avoid any type of situation that could endanger yourself or someone else, that always has to be the first priority,” he stressed.
Aside from Florida and Ohio, Texas, Alabama, Wyoming, Michigan, Mississippi, Kentucky and many other states have passed similar gun legislation.