On Monday, Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine hinted he might veto the “stand your ground” bill which the Republican-controlled state legislature had submitted.
Speaking at a press briefing, DeWine stated, “I’ve made it very clear, I think, many times, going back months, that I felt that before the legislature took up other gun bills, that they really should focus on what we have sent them.”
Last Friday, the Ohio Senate approved Senate Bill 175 in an 18-11 vote; if DeWine signed the bill into law Ohio would become the 36th state to pass such a law or something similar to it. Florida was the first state to pass such a law in 2005.
As FindLaw explains, there are typically three kinds of self-defense laws:
Stand Your Ground: No duty to retreat from the situation before resorting to deadly force; not limited to your home, place of work, etc.
Castle Doctrine: No duty to retreat before using deadly force if you are in your home or yard (some states include a place of work and occupied vehicles).
Duty to Retreat: Duty to retreat from a threatening situation if you can do so with complete safety.
UCLA Professor Eugene Volokh delineated the situations where you may not use deadly force for self-defense, period:
- You generally can’t use deadly force for self-defense in most states unless you reasonably believe that you’re facing the risk of death or serious bodily injury or some serious crime: rape, kidnapping or, in some states, robbery, burglary, or arson.
- In particular, you can’t use deadly force purely in retaliation, once any threat has passed.
- Nor can you use deadly force against a simple assault, unless you reasonably believe that you’re facing the risk of death or serious bodily injury.
- You often can’t use deadly force merely to protect property, but it’s complicated.
- You generally can’t use deadly force where you are yourself engaged in the commission of a crime (e.g., if you’re robbing someone and he fights back, you can’t “defend” yourself against him).
- You generally can’t use deadly force if you attacked the victim or deliberately provoked the victim with the specific purpose of getting the victim to attack or threaten you.
Current Ohio law stipulates that people can use deadly force in self-defense if they believe they are in great imminent danger, but it is only applicable if the person is in their home or vehicle. But Senate Bill 175 states it means “to expand the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat before using force under both civil and criminal law” so that the law is applicable in other locations as well.
“If DeWine does veto the legislation, it appears unlikely there are enough votes in either the House or Senate to reach the three-fifth majorities needed to override his veto,” Cleveland.com reported, adding, “Even if the votes are found to override DeWine’s veto, the legislature is currently set to wrap up its session on Tuesday — meaning that if the governor rejects the bill after that day, legislative leaders would have to call lawmakers back to Columbus after Christmas to hold an override vote.”
In August 2019, Cleveland.com noted, “DeWine said he wants Ohio to require background checks for all firearms sales except for gifts and ‘certain other limited uses.’ Federal law already requires licensed dealers to conduct background checks before selling firearms; the proposal would target sales online and at gun shows.”
In 2018, DeWine confirmed his support for a “red flag law” if due process were respected; he also stated he wanted mental health specialists in every school in the state to limit school shootings.
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