Ohio prosecutors oppose 'Stand Your Ground' bill related to self-defense

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While Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine continues to hold a bill that would remove the requirement that Ohioans retreat from an encounter before using deadly force, he is getting encouragement from state prosecutors to veto the bill.

DeWine, who said he plans to speak about the bill at some point this week, has spent the past two weeks signaling his opposition to the legislation that eliminates the responsibility of a citizen to retreat before using deadly force to defend life or property.

The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association said an opportunity to retreat is more than reasonable and opposes the bill.

“Our association has opposed and continues to oppose the repeal of the duty to retreat in Ohio,” Louis Tobin, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said. “This is a wholly unnecessary change to the law that is a solution in search of a problem. The current requirement does not place an undue burden on the right to self defense. It does, however, help stop needless confrontation, encourage de-escalation and prevent the unnecessary loss of life.”

A veto override would be challenging. The bill passed both the House and Senate without veto-proof majorities. Also, the session was scheduled to end Tuesday, meaning if a veto override vote was scheduled, leadership would have to call lawmakers back to Columbus.

DeWine has repeatedly over the past year asked the legislature to pass several pieces of his gun legislation, none of which made it out of the legislature to date.

State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, who introduced the legislation, said the bill is straight forward and lawmakers must defend the Constitution.

“Ohioans should be able to use necessary force to defend themselves where they reasonably conclude that deadly force is being used against them,” Koehler said. “We have a duty to defend the United States Constitution, and people who utilize their Second Amendment rights. This straight-forward legislation will help us protect our constitutional right and the values on which this country was founded.”

According to the measure, a civilian can shoot someone else as long as they are not an aggressor, they are in fear of harm and deadly force is necessary. The civilian also must be in a place where they lawfully have the right to be. It eliminates the responsibility to retreat and broadens the places where deadly force becomes lawful.

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