Ohio soon may become the next state to adopt a “stand your ground” law.
Ohio House Bill 203 includes a provision that says when you’re in a place you’re legally allowed to be, e.g., not trespassing, and you’re confronted with a situation in which you need to defend yourself, another person, or your property, that you don’t have to try to escape or retreat from the danger before using deadly force.
The bill was approved 63-27 in the House of Representatives and now is pending in the state Senate.
The “stand your ground” provision is an expansion of traditional common law principles, which say that a defendant has to show he or she had no opportunity to retreat when pleading self-defense to a charge involving use of deadly force.
Stand your ground laws have been a topic of national discussion since the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch member who shot and killed Trayvon Martin during a fight. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges using a stand your ground defense.
The “stand your ground” provision isn’t the only thing House Bill 203 proposes. The legislation includes a number of other gun-related measures, including:
- Requires Ohio to recognize a concealed carry license issued by another state when no written reciprocity agreement is in place, and the other state recognizes Ohio’s concealed carry licenses
- The other state’s concealed carry eligibility requirements no longer have to be substantially comparable to Ohio’s for the Attorney General to enter into a written reciprocity agreement
- You no longer have to be an Ohio resident to get or renew a concealed carry license
- Bans non-citizens admitted to the U.S. under non-immigrant visas from getting concealed carry licenses and requires applicants who are citizens to certify they haven’t renounced their U.S. citizenship
- Changes the requirements for a firearms competency certificate to make the minimum course four hours instead of 12
- Exempts former military personnel and anyone who has completed peace officer training or annual firearms requalification from taking the competency class
- Requires sheriff’s departments to contact the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to make sure applicants can legally possess a gun
- Allows investigators for the Attorney General’s office to carry the same weapons as police or sheriff’s deputies for certain types of investigations