Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a controversial “stand your ground” measure that the Republican-dominated legislature approved last month, reports the Columbus Dispatch. At least 27 other states have eliminated the duty to retreat before firing in self-defense. These laws are sometimes called “stand your ground,” or “shoot first” by opponents. The initial bill passed the Ohio Senate unanimously a year ago. The House added language expanding the locations where residents have no duty to attempt to retreat before using a firearm in self-defense.
The law eliminates the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense, defense of another person or defense of certain property. It expands the places someone can fire a gun from the person’s home and vehicle to anywhere the person has a legal right to be. Proponents of eliminating a duty to retreat say a potential victim shouldn’t be asked to flee a dangerous situation. Opponents say the new law will increase violence and exacerbate racial biases. Police chiefs from Ohio’s largest cities and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney Association oppose eliminating the duty to retreat.