Updated 6:50 p.m., Stand your ground provision in Ohio bill under fire PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 23 November 2013 18:21
File photo. State Rep. Tim Brown (R-Bowling Green)
A bill passed by the Ohio House of Representatives this week is under fire because of a controversial change that would no longer require people to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense while in public.
Referred to by some as a stand-your-ground law, the provision is well known because of its involvement in the case of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed an unarmed teenager in Florida last year and said he was under attack. Zimmerman did not cite the law in his defense, and was found not guilty of manslaughter this summer.
But Ohio's proposal has an important distinction from Florida's law. In Ohio, the burden of proving that deadly force was called for would remain on the shooter, rather than requiring the state to show there was no imminent danger or cause for action, as in Florida.
The Ohio bill also makes other revisions to several areas of state firearm laws, some growing more stringent and others being scaled back.
Ohio's current law is based on the Castle Doctrine, which states people have no duty to retreat from an attacker in their home, vehicle, or the vehicle of an immediate family member. The House-approved bill, which now moves to the Senate for consideration, would expand that protection to all places where an individual is legally allowed to be.
While Florida's law creates an "almost impossible burden" on the state to prove there was no need for defense, Ohio would remain one of the toughest states in the country regarding proof of self-defense, said State Rep. Tim Brown (R-Bowling Green), who voted in favor of House Bill 203.
"Had this bill walked us anywhere close to Florida's law, I wouldn't have voted for it."
Brown said he supported the measure because it also requires those applying for permits to carry concealed weapons be processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a federal database that disqualifies more individuals who should not have those permits than the system currently used by Ohio.
For example, the new law would reject CCW permits for anyone convicted of domestic violence, even at the misdemeanor level. The federal system looks into both criminal and mental health history. Brown said that provision was why the bill was able to muster support from both Republicans and Democrats in its 62-27 approval.
"I think Ohio needed to shore up the requirements of who could get a weapon and who couldn't, and I think this helps us," Brown said.
While background checks would be more intense, the bill would reduce the training hours required to earn a CCW permit from 12 to four. Brown said he supported a proposed amendment that would have maintained the 12-hour requirement, but it was defeated.
Brown said he heard from constituents that the class could be offered in much less than 12 hours, and that instructors often stretch their teaching material to meet the requirement. Still, he's not among those who think the Second Amendment means there should be no obstacle to firearm access whatsoever.
"Most gun owners I know are very diligent in their personal responsibility on training and handling of their weapons, but I don't think there's anything wrong with requiring some training," Brown said.
"My feelings were, I would rather there be too much time in the classroom to make sure everything was accomplished."
State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) will be among those to consider their own version of the bill if it's voted out of committee. He said he hasn't reviewed the measure closely but has spoken with Brown, and he expects to receive a great deal of citizen input in advance of a vote.
"I don't have a finalized position on the bill itself, but I have always been a strong defender of the right to self-defense and ... the Second Amendment," Gardner said.
"I'm going to certainly support the right to protect innocent life."
Last Updated on Saturday, 23 November 2013 21:25

Front Page Stories

Perrysburg Twp. Man Sentenced to 22 Years for Rape
07/24/2014 | Sentinel-Tribune Staff

A Perrysburg Township man was senteced to more than 22 years in prison after being found guilty Thur [ ... ]

Vigil set for BGSU student
07/24/2014 | Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — A vigil for a Bowling Green State University student who was found dead in Lorain [ ... ]

Other Front Page Articles
Sentinel-Tribune Copyright 2010