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Lawmaker Reintroduces "Stand Your Ground" Self-Defense Bill

Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) spoke at a pro-gun rally at the Statehouse in September.
Daniel Konik
Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) spoke at a pro-gun rally at the Statehouse in September.

A similar bill was introduced last year, after a veto fight with former Gov. John Kasich resulted in a stripped down version that eventually passed.

Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) said her bill would allow a person to use deadly forcewithout retreating if they’re protecting themselves or others against real or perceived threats, even in public, and would protect them from having to defend themselves in court. Keller says 36 states have some form of a “stand your ground” law.

She proposed a similar bill last year, after Kasich said he would veto the "Stand Your Ground" bill that lawmakers were considering. The bill was dramatically changed, but Kasich still vetoed it, and lawmakers overrode him.

Sen Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) - who's sponsoring DeWine's "STRONG Ohio" gun violence package, has said a reintroduced "Stand Your Ground bill" would be "tone deaf to the feelings that are out there". But Keller said with Gov. Mike DeWine proposing legislation to curb gun violence, including a version of a red flag gun seizure law, now is the time for this bill.

“Every single gun bill that we have needs to be looked at carefully and closely. My bill, ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill doesn’t focus on criminals. It focuses on law-abiding citizens. The ‘red flag’ bill is, of course, a whole other basket of eggs," Keller said.

Previous versions of "Stand Your Ground" have had support from the Buckeye Firearms Association and Ohio Gun Owners, both of which have said they're opposed to "red flag" laws. 

The "STRONG Ohio" proposal includes what Dolan and DeWine describe as a version of a "red flag" law, saying they want to focus on people who are dangerous and not their weapons. But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have serious concerns about it.Critics say stand your ground laws in some states has resulted in increased gun deaths, especially involving African Americans, and that there’s no evidence that these laws deter crime.

Copyright 2019 The Statehouse News Bureau

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