New Ohio “Stand Your Ground” Bill

Self defense first would be ok.

drawing of ohio state on chalkboard, drawn by chalk

A new bill under consideration in Ohio would allow people with firearms to defend themselves without first having to retreat. The bill is similar to other “stand your ground” laws in other states. Republicans Rep. Terry Johnson and Rep. Sarah Latourette introduced House Bill 228, which would amend several sections of the Ohio Constitution which have regard to self-defense and firearms.

HB 228 would eliminate the current requirement that a citizen first retreat before using a firearm in defense of themselves, others near them, or their property. In Ohio currently, citizens can use lethal force to defend themselves without first retreating, only if they are in their home or their car. Not, for instance, if they are on their neighbor’s lawn or in a shopping mall parking lot, just to give some examples.

The bill would also require the prosecution to prove that the shooting was not done in self defense. This is in contrast to the current law which requires that the person who did the shooting to prove that it was self defense (if they are charged with a crime).

The bill is currently in review and has 36 cosponsors (all Republicans). It is unclear if it will pas however, as it has some strong opposition, namely from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, who don’t feel that they should have to do their jobs to prove that their client (the criminal) was actually a threat.

Ohio’s neighbors, Kansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, don’t require retreat before an armed citizen shoots in self defense. Kentucky, though, does require the prosecution to prove the shooting was not self-defense, while Indiana and Pennsylvania require the shooter to prove that it was self defense.