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Ohio Becomes 36th State with No Duty to Retreat as Governor Signs Stand Your Ground Law

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Citizens of Ohio no longer have a duty to retreat before using force “if that person is in a place in which the person lawfully has a right to be.” Senate Bill 175 was signed into law on January 4th by Republican Governor Mike DeWine and expands a citizen’s right to defend themselves beyond their home or vehicle to include locations such as businesses and public spaces.

DeWine has been at odds with Republican lawmakers since they ignored the legislation that he proposed following a 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, in which 9 people were killed and 17 others were injured. In recent weeks, he threatened to veto the so-called Stand Your Ground legislation that he eventually signed.

His plan included stronger background checks and increased penalties for felons committing crimes with guns, and he appealed to the lawmakers to work with him on it, saying, “Everyone who cares about these issues knows that the provisions I am requesting in no way infringe upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms. They know what I am asking for is to make it harder for guns to get into the hands of criminals. These provisions will save lives. These provisions need to become law.”

His action garnered widespread criticism from Democrats and widespread support from Republicans and gun-rights supporters.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) said that she could not “express my level of disappointment” after the two agreed to work together on bipartisan changes to gun laws. The top Senate Democrat, Kenny Yoko, called Monday “a sad day”, while the top House Democrat, Emilia Sykes called DeWine “a coward.”

House member Kyle Koehler, who supported the bill, called it a simple fix of existing law “that will protect law-abiding gun owners.”

Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dan Rieck commented, “We’re very pleased the Governor kept his promise to sign the repeal of Ohio’s duty to retreat law that forces victims of violent crime to retreat before they’re legally able to defend themselves.”

A NRA spokesperson said, “Crimes can happen quickly and without warning. Most victims have a split second to react with the best course of action for their survival. By signing SB 175, Gov. DeWine ensures the law favors victims and not criminals. We look forward to working with the governor in the future to advance the interests of law-abiding Ohioans.”

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