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Ohio’s ‘stand your ground’ law goes into effect


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    DAYTON, Ohio (WLWT) — Ohio’s new “stand your ground” law goes into effect Tuesday.

The controversial new law, signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in January, eliminates Ohioans’ duty to retreat before using force.

The measure expands the so-called “stand your ground” right from an individual’s house and car to any place, “if that person is in a place in which the person lawfully has a right to be.”

The new law can be explained like this: In the past, if someone shot in self-defense, the burden was on the shooter to prove that’s why they did it. With a “stand your ground” law, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to prove the shooting was not justified.

In addition to making prosecutors prove a claim of self-defense may not be justified, the measure would also eliminate the call for gun owners with concealed carry permits to try to retreat from a threat before opening fire.

The Republican governor signed the bill despite his long expressed concerns that GOP lawmakers were ignoring his own legislation proposed following the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton.

DeWine has said he wants any gun legislation to include his proposals for toughening background checks and boosting penalties for felons committing new crimes with guns. The governor has pushed these measures since the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton that killed nine and wounded more than two dozen.

DeWine said he’s not giving up, and will continue to ask the new GOP-controlled General Assembly to approve his proposals.

Republican lawmakers and gun rights groups praised DeWine for signing the “stand your ground” bill. Proponents of the law say this legislation simply aligns Ohio with most other states in the country.

“Ohio is kind of backwards where self-defense you are guilty and have to prove yourself innocent. And we think that the burden should be on the prosecutors, not on the innocent person that is trying to keep their family safe,” said Joe Eaton, with Buckeye Firearms Association.

But Democrats, big city mayors and Black lawmakers have strongly criticized the governor for the move.

Such laws “upend centuries of traditional self-defense doctrine and threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism,” Democratic Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.

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