In January, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed a so-called “stand your ground” bill that eliminates an individual’s duty to retreat before using force. The final version of the legislation — Senate Bill 175 — passed in December, Fox 8 reported.
The new legislation expands the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat before using force under both civil and criminal law, eliminating the home and vehicular parameters. It could potentially allow an individual to use deadly force in public areas so long as the person is not the aggressor and reasonably and honestly believes it was necessary to prevent serious bodily harm or death.
DeWine took action despite criticizing GOP lawmakers for ignoring his own legislation seeking to toughen background checks and boosting penalties for felons committing new crimes with guns. The governor proposed those measures following a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton.
“I have always believed that it is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation,” DeWine said after signing the bill into law. “I am very disappointed, however, that the legislature did not include in this bill the essential provisions that I proposed to make it harder for dangerous criminals to illegally possess and use guns.”
“Right now, the national and state background check systems are sometimes missing vital information – things such as convictions, active protection orders, and open warrants – that alert law enforcement if they’re dealing with a wanted or potentially dangerous individual,” the governor said.
After the bill cleared the state legislature, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Police Chief Richard Biehl asked DeWine to veto the legislation, arguing the majority of Ohioans want common-sense gun legislation instead of what they described as an extreme law such as “Stand Your Ground,” WHIO-TV reported.
“The dangerous ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill that @MikeDeWine signed goes into effect tomorrow,” Whaley tweeted Monday. “It will make Ohio less safe for everyone, especially African Americans. This is the sort of legislation we get when we prioritize politics over people.”
“This is a dangerous bill that will put Ohioans’ lives at risk,” state Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, a Democrat representing Richmond Heights, told WCMH. “This is not what people meant when they asked us to ‘do something’ last year after the deadly mass shooting in Dayton.”
On Aug. 4, 2019, 24-year-old Connor Betts shot 26 people in the span of 32 seconds before responding officers fatally shot him outside of Blind Bob’s bar in Dayton, Police Chief Richard Biehl said at the time. Nine people died and 17 others were injured.