Ohio Could Soon See 'Stand Your Ground' Measure

The Hannah Report
Friday, February 24, 2006
    The coming weeks will tell whether a national trend toward 'stand your ground' self-defense legislation goes on to shape debate in the Ohio primary race and the remaining 126th General Assembly. Ohio is not among the 22 states presently weighing measures that relieve potential victims of the "duty to retreat," a position upheld by many state supreme courts, and that instead empower citizens to defend themselves and others with deadly force, both in the home and in the marketplace. Such a measure is already in place in Florida, and is currently under review in all states contiguous to Ohio.

    Initial efforts in Florida have been supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and opposed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, named after the former press secretary to Ronald Reagan who was injured in an attack on the president. Stand-your-ground laws generally allow individuals to vigorously defend themselves from a perceived life-threatening situation, and in some cases grant the apparent victim criminal immunity from collateral injury to bystanders.

    Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

    Ohio Legislative Liaison John Hohenwarter of the NRA had followed its endorsement of Sen. Tim Grendell's (R-Chesterland) attorney general bid Thursday by saying concealed carry measures were only one of the issues to be brought out in the senator's primary race against Auditor Betty Montgomery. He explained the NRA's support of stand-your-ground legislation Friday. "There's a reason you're seeing this legislation introduced and passed in a number of states," he said. "The judicial system has moved over the years toward an erosion of victim's rights. When your life is threatened, most people are not going to stand and reflect on whether they have a duty to retreat."

    While Ohio is not officially on the map yet with similar legislation, Hohenwarter suggested a bill may not be too far in the offing. "I've gotten some calls from legislators interested in introducing a bill," he noted. "I would think you may see something in the next couple of weeks." He was less willing, however, to link stand-your-ground measures to the Grendell-Montgomery debate, one the NRA says the senator wins hands down. "Whether this is a new issue that goes into the primary race, I don't know," said Hohenwarter, though he acknowledged Grendell was an enthusiastic supporter of stand-your-ground legislation. "But this issue really hasn't been that controversial, because I think everyone believes people have a right to defend themselves."

    That confidence may in fact be a matter of policy debate, as the Brady Campaign and others fear such laws will only encourage more gunplay in urban areas. Hohenwarter rejected the idea, however, that stand-your ground laws will serve as a cover for willing combatants in a gang conflict or similar confrontations -- where someone has to pull the first weapon, and someone else eventually responds. "You would still have to prove in court that your life was in danger," said Hohenwarter. "At any rate, the intent of such a law is not to have people going around looking for trouble. It is meant to give law-abiding citizens the power to protect themselves and their families."

Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine and Legislative Chair Ken Hanson met with a State Representative's office several months ago about this and have continued to work with the Ohio legislature as they draft this important legislation. Please continue to check this website for updates.

Be sure to read Ken Hanson's Self-Defense Bill of Rights Part I

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