Proposed Ohio reforms described as extension of ‘Castle Doctrine’ on self-defense

Posted: November 13, 2014 by gamegetterII in gun laws, gun rights
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COLUMBUS — In the few weeks remaining in the legislative session, lawmakers may send Gov. John Kasich a bill eliminating the legal duty of Ohioans to retreat from danger before using deadly force to protect themselves.

“A person facing a life-threatening situation should not have a duty to flee and hope for the best,” Rep. Terry Johnson (R., McDermott) told the Senate Civil Justice Committee weighing his bill containing numerous changes to Ohio gun laws.

“They should have the right to protect themselves and protect their loved ones.”

House Bill 203 passed the House nearly a year ago by a bipartisan vote of 63-27. It has drawn comparisons with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.

Florida’s law was tried in the court of public opinion but not in the actual courtroom when George Zimmerman was accused but acquitted in the 2012 shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

But Dr. Johnson noted that Ohioans in such situations would still have to show they acted in self-defense and did nothing to escalate the danger. Under Florida’s law, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving the shooter did not act in self-defense.

“Ohio is one of the toughest states in the union to prove self-defense,” Dr. Johnson said. “In other states you don’t have nearly that barrier to get across.”

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