Why all pro-2A Ohioans should oppose late amendments to H.B. 228

As we mentioned earlier this week, House Bill 228 finally might come to a vote very soon.

This is the bill that, after several hearings and a possible vote earlier this year, the Republican majority decided to put on the back burner. At the same time, they were moving forward with more hearings on House Bill 585, Gov. John Kasich’s problematic gun-control measure.

H.B. 228 is a good bill – not perfect, but good. It would shift the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defendant to the prosecution, removing the “duty to retreat” when a gun owner is faced with a threat.

H.B. 585 is terrible – period.

As we’ve said, the Buckeye Firearms Association’s top priority this session is to correct Ohio’s defective burden-of-proof standard for self-defense victims. Ohio law runs contrary to federal law, the other 49 states, and our moral code that a person has the presumption of innocence and is thus “innocent until proven guilty.” Ohio law is defective and must be changed.

H.B. 228, introduced by state Reps. Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland), is the bill that corrects this wrong. Many other important provisions also are in the bill. We have endorsed H.B. 228 and have asked representatives for their support to pass this common-sense and needed legislation.

H.B. 228 received many hearings in which chairwoman Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and members of the Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee favorably reported it with changes guided by testimony from various perspectives, including BFA’s Ron Lemieux, who offered oral and written testimony in favor of the bill.

Now some people and groups claiming to be pro-gun are pushing for a “stand your ground” amendment by Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana). Of course, some of those people are nothing more than Facebook trolls with phony profiles.

Don’t get us wrong: We don’t dislike Vitale’s legislative idea on this. We are on board with SYG legislation – 100 percent.

But adding that particular amendment to this particular bill at this particular time could easily kill H.B. 228.

Here’s why.

The Ohio House of Representatives comprises 99 members – 66 Republicans and 33 Democrats. The Ohio Senate holds 33 members – 24 Republicans and nine Democrats. Since 1912, a supermajority in both chambers has been three-fifths – 60 in the House and 20 in the Senate.

As we’ve heard from lame-duck Kasich, who champions the terrible H.B. 585, he’s prepared to veto H.B. 228, regardless of Vitate’s proposed amendment. That means we need 60 state representatives and 20 senators to support H.B. 228 and override his veto.

As it stands, we have that – easily.

If we tinker with this bill now, we risk peeling away some of the much-needed supermajority to see this through. As we’ve mentioned, some feeble Republicans already showed a willingness to put this one aside while showing a willingness to move forward with H.B. 585.

Meanwhile, H.B. 585 would cruise through both chambers and Kasich’s signature.

On a side note, be careful whom you trust in regard to some so-called gun-rights groups. Do research on them all and vet them carefully. As we’ve pointed out, one in particular isn’t what it claims to be.

The Buckeye Firearms Association has been successful in numerous pro-gun strategies over the years. Using scare tactics and bogus smears for the sake of generating monetary donations is not a pro-gun strategy.

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Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.