Statehouse sources are questioning the recent introduction of a Senate version of “Stand Your Ground.” The sponsor of Senate Bill 237, newly appointed Senator Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), calls the bill the “Ohio Duty to Retreat Act.” Concerns were expressed to The Ohio Star that the legislation may be used to force a compromise between anti-gun groups and Second Amendment supporters to help the Senate move the Governor’s gun-control plan, Senate Bill 221.
One source said, “This was a surprise introduction. I don’t think the House Sponsors [of Stand Your Ground] even knew this was coming, and it’s the same bill. I suspect the purpose is to get conservative Senators to cave on 221 or compromise in order to get Stand Your Ground or some form of it.”
The Senate Bill entitled “Ohio Duty to Retreat” is identical in every way except for the title to “Stand Your Ground,” House Bill 381.
For instance, both bills are thirteen pages. Both versions introduce the same new language and both bills delete the same current law sections. Pictured are two excepts, one from each bill, of a new law section Ohio Revised Code 2901.91.
The House bill was introduced first on October 23, 2019. It was assigned to Criminal Justice Committee, but has yet to have a hearing. Senate Bill 237 was introduced November 12 and sponsor testimony was offered the next day in the Senate’s Government Oversight and Reform Committee.
In spite of the name of Johnson’s bill which appears to support a duty to retreat, his sponsor testimony and the actual language made it clear the Senator is not supporting the requirement that a person run away from a threat. Johnson told the Committee, “This legislation would establish that a person is not required to retreat before using deadly force if that person is not the original aggressor.”
Name games aside, another statehouse source agreed that a Senate version of Stand Your Ground could be used to manipulate a gun-control compromise, or worse.
“It is probably just a play of some sort,” remarked the Second Amendment supporter. “Probably to thwart OGO [Ohio Gun Owners, backers of HB 381] or bait them to support SB237, then pull the rug out from it?”
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