Gun-rights supporters are pushing for the right to carry concealed weapons in more places in Ohio, eliminate the requirement that people tell cops who stop them that they have a firearm and no longer require someone to retreat from a threat before using a gun.
Eight gun bills pending in the Ohio General Assembly seek to expand gun rights.
Nearly 40 lawmakers are signed on as sponsors of a “stand your ground” bill that would remove the duty to retreat from a threat. House Bill 228 would re-work Ohio’s self-defense laws and reduce requirements faced by CCW holders, such as keeping their hands in plain sight during traffic stops.
“This would be a huge threat to public safety and peace of mind, particularly for men of color who are often impacted by these kinds of stand your ground laws,” said Jennifer Thorne, executive director of Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. Thorne argues that a stand your ground law would embolden people to embark on vigilante justice and shoot first, ask questions later.
Meanwhile, Ohioans for Concealed Carry spokesman Jim Irvine bristles at calling it “stand your ground” legislation. “Some people may call it that. It’s an inappropriate label,” he said.
Ohioans have the right to fight a threat in their home or car but elsewhere they face a legal duty to retreat, if possible. Irvine said the vast majority of people won’t use deadly force. “It goes against our grain and against who we are.”
Lawmakers are considering bills that would let active and retired military members obtain CCW permits without taking the eight hour training class, let paramedics and EMTs assigned to SWAT teams carry firearms on the job and reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon into areas that are posted as “no gun” zones from a felony to a misdemeanor.
There is also a bill pending in the Senate that would allow CCW permit holders to carry guns in the Ohio Statehouse, which is heavily guarded by the Ohio Highway Patrol.