The Ohio General Assembly passed its controversial pro-Second Amendment legislation Thursday, but not until it was stripped of its most substantial provision.
Under current Ohio law, gun owners are subjected to a “duty to retreat” standard that requires them to stand down in potentially life-threatening situations. That law would have been scrapped under the GOP-backed “Stand Your Ground” bill, but was amended out of the text of the bill during committee re-writes Thursday.
Opponents of the bill successfully pressured the Government and Oversight Committee to drop some of the most substantial elements of the legislation, which the Ohio-based Moms Demand Action lobbied against during a Tuesday night hearing.
“On Tuesday night, senators listened for hours as Ohio law enforcement leaders, concerned parents, and other constituents shared our opposition to this dangerous legislation,” said Sarah Mouncey, volunteer leader of the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “By taking out two of the most reckless portions of this bill, senators showed they heard our voices.”
In addition to the “stand your ground” provision, the committee removed language that would have barred subsidized housing agencies from preventing tenants from owning firearms, The Dayton Daily News reports.
The only consequential provision remaining in the bill is one that shifts the burden of proof from defendants to the prosecution in self-defense cases, which is the current law in every state except Ohio.
Despite the revisions, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) has indicated that he still plans to veto the bill, citing its lack of a “red flag” provision as reason for doing so. Red flag laws generally allow for the government to temporally seize guns from citizens deemed a potential threat to the community.
“I pleaded with them to put the ‘red flag’ law in there. They didn’t do,” Kasich added. Mouncey agrees with the Republican governor’s assessment and has said that her organization will work to get a “red flag” law passed during the next session.
“When none of that gets put in there really or very little of it, it’s very hard for me to support anything like this,” Kasich said of the revised bill.
The prospect of a veto, however, doesn’t have gun owners too concerned, since the bill is pretty much dead already, at least according to the Ohio Gun Owners organization.
“Our members and our supporters are looking at this thing as a big ‘nothing burger’ now,” Chris Door, an Ohio Gun Owners member, told Statehouse News Bureau. “In states where the burden of proof is already on the prosecution to disprove a self-defense claim, gun owners already sit in jail so this idea that we’ve switched that over is a huge get for gun owners, it’s not.”
Rep. Terry Johnson (R-Scioto County), the bill’s lead sponsor, reportedly urged his colleagues to accept the committee’s revisions to the bill, but still stands by it as a “strong Second Amendment bill, even though some things came out of it.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Photo “Ohio State Senate Floor” by John Beagle. CC-BY 2.0. Photo “John Kasich” by Michael Vardon. CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo “Terry Johnson” by Terry Johnson.