Scored Vote: Ohio Passes "Stand Your Ground" Legislation by Charles Yeganian

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.

Ohio House Poised to Pass Stand Your Ground Legislation by Charles Yeganian

Jim Segal of the Columbus Dispatch reports on the impending vote in the Ohio state House on a stand-your-ground law:

House Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, said last spring, prior to the legislature’s break for the summer and the fall campaign season, that the House had a veto-proof majority to pass the bill. However, a vote was delayed until after last week’s elections, although a veto from Gov. John Kasich remains a strong possibility. Kasich has been upset that his fellow Republicans in the legislature have refused to act on his proposals intended to reduce gun violence, including a “red flag” provision to allow a judge to order the removal of guns from people deemed a danger.

The Fraternal Order of Police is opposed to the legislation, and the local chapter of Moms Demand Action has been working hard against it. Still, the bill passed out of committee easily and is expected to pass.

LEAP Forward will be scoring action on this legislation and urging opposition.