by J.D. Davidson
If Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs a new bill into law, Ohioans will no longer be required to retreat first before using deadly force to defend themselves. Where they can defend themselves with deadly force would also expand.
DeWine, who has repeatedly over the past year asked the legislature to pass several pieces of his gun legislation, has not indicted if he would sign the bill.
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.”
Under the measure, a civilian would be able to defend themselves with deadly force as long as they are not the aggressor, if they are in fear of harm and deadly force is necessary, and if they are in a place where they lawfully have the right to be.
It eliminates the responsibility to retreat and broadens the places where deadly force would be lawful.
House Democrats, in protest, removed their names from the bill, which originally gave civil immunity to nonprofit corporations for any injury, death or loss caused by the corporation for allowing those with handgun licenses to bring guns onto their property, or incidents resulting from guns being legally brought on their premises or to an event organized by the corporation.
Democrats, on the floor, said the legislation went too far, threatens Black lives and makes Ohioans less safe.
“People should be able to defend themselves, absolutely, but it should not be a fact that people of color die disproportionately because of these laws,” state Rep. Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) said. “We need to have some real, meaningful conversations about these types of laws and how they impact people of color … so we can figure out how to move forward.”
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J.D. Davidson is a regular contributor to The Center Square. He is veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas.