HB 228 Scheduled for Vote This Week
UPDATE 6-25-18: This morning, the plan was to have a House vote on this bill on Wednesday. Now, a few hours later, we've learned the vote has been canceled.
Many in the media are saying that the "stand your ground" bill will be voted on this week in the Ohio House.
The Ohio House of Representatives is expected to vote on HB 228 this Wednesday, and this is the bill the media is talking about. However, the words "stand your ground" never appear in the bill. Those words are used by people on both sides of the issue, but generally by those opposed to the bill or those ignorant of the real issues.
We all learned that we are innocent until proven guilty, and that is true at the Federal level, in the U.S. territories, and in 49 other states. It is true of every other crime in Ohio, but NOT if you are the victim of a violent crime and forced to defend your life. Ohio law puts the burden of proof on the person using a gun for self-defense, and HB 228 seeks to correct that.
For more information see:
As has become typical, those who oppose gun rights and using firearms for self-defense panic when they see we are making progress in fixing our laws and, out of frustration, they make crazy claims.
Opponents have said this bill is "legalizing murder" and that it will allow people to carry concealed firearms with no training or licenses. Those are lies. HB 228 makes no such changes to the law. It is a public document and not really that hard to read, so don't buy into the fear tactics of our opponents. Understand that the facts are all on our side, and all they have left is unfounded claims and emotion to try to stop the legislature from improving our laws.
Current law requires buildings where firearms are legally carried to post "no guns" signs. HB 228 fixes that defect.
Current law requires a licensee to keep hands in "plain sight" during a traffic stop. Courts have ruled that firearms can never be in "plain sight" in an automobile. Thus "open carry" of a firearm in a motor vehicle is not possible and you must have a Concealed Handgun License. If a gun can't be in plain sight, how can your hands? So Ohio law seems to require people to do something with their hands that the courts have ruled is not even possible to do with a gun. HB 228 fixes that defect.
The bill does not seek to change the standard for use of deadly force. That will remain exactly the same. I challenge anyone to show me where or how the bill is "shoot first" legislation. Saying such things is not only wrong, it is dangerous and reckless.
Current Ohio law has different rules for defending your life in your home or car than it does on your driveway between the two. What is the law if you are entering or exiting your home/car and partway between the two areas? I don’t know. That is bad law.
What "duties" should the state put on a crime victim at the moment of potential imminent death? What actions should a woman be required to take before defending herself from a rapist/murderer? What legal hoops should the state invent for her to jump through before exercising the right of self-defense?
The obvious answer is, "None!"
But current law imposes a "duty to retreat" on crime victims (when feasible, as judged by people whose life was never in jeopardy). That is wrong. HB 228 will correct that problem and set one standard for self-defense.
This is a commonsense piece of legislation that should be unanimously passed. Of course, it will not be unanimous because some legislators are tricked by false claims, and some would rather play politics than vote for a bill that helps their constituents.
Ironically, this bill is far more helpful to constituents in Democrat held urban districts than Republican held rural districts, but the votes will not reflect this fact.
Jim Irvine is President of the Buckeye Firearms Association. He is also recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award," the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award," and the SAF's 2015 "Defender of Freedom Award."