As expected, the Ohio state House of Representatives passed HB 228 by a 65-32 vote. This dangerous bill would dramatically lessen the responsibility a person claiming self-defense has to justify or avoid a situation in which they use a firearm. If the bill becomes law, it would:
assign to the prosecution the burden of disproving a self-defense or related claim; to expand the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat before using force under both civil and criminal law; to limit the use of the affirmative defense of self-defense, defense of another, or defense of a person's residence under both civil and criminal law; to modify the Concealed Handgun Licensing Law regarding the carrying of additional identification and a licensee's duty to keep the licensee's hands in plain sight; to modify penalties for illegally carrying a concealed firearm or improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle; to expand the offense and penalties for unlawful transactions in weapons; to repeal the required posting of warning signs regarding the possession of weapons on specified premises; to provide an affirmative defense to improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle for handguns in the vehicle without the defendant's knowledge; to generally bar any subsidized residential premises lease from requiring a tenant to agree to a restriction on a lawful firearm, a firearm component, or ammunition within the tenant's rental dwelling unit; and to exclude certain firearms from the definitions of sawed-off firearm and dangerous ordnance.
The final vote saw one Democrat - Jack Cera - support the legislation over opposition from the Fraternal Order of Police, gun safety organizations, and his own colleagues. Cera is a A-rated by the NRA. Cera did not have a primary or general election opponent in 2018.
I have updated Ohio’s Report Card to reflect actions taken on this bill - sponsorship, committee vote, and floor vote. The legislation now goes to the Ohio state Senate, where Republicans hold a veto-proof majority.