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Ohio Legislature Passes Self-Defense Gun Bill Over Kasich's Objections

Damian Dovarganes
Associated Press

The Ohio General Assembly has voted to override Gov. John Kasich’s veto on, HB 228, a bill that would revamp the way the state handles self-defense cases in court.

The law shifts the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defense to the prosecution. It had strong support from pro-gun groups, who said this would put Ohio in step with every other state in the country.

On Thursday, the Ohio House and Ohio Senate each voted with a two-thirds majority to overturn Kasich's veto.

Buckeye Firearms Association President Jim Irvine said shifting the burden ensures that someone is "innocent until proven guilty… one of the pillars of our nation's legal system.”

In his veto message, Kasich said the legislature should’ve considered his “red flag law” proposal, which allows courts to take guns away from people who pose a threat to themselves or others.

“It’s hard for me to know what his reason is for doing anything,” Irvine says. “­They’re two completely unrelated concepts and ideas. So why you would veto ‘Bill A’ because they didn’t pass ‘Bill Three’ makes no sense to me.”

While the majority of Kasich’s veto message was spent discussing his “common sense” gun regulations, he also objected to the bill’s language on municipalities.

“A provision in this bill to restrict the rights of local governments to enact any policies concerning firearms further erodes Ohio’s long-established policies that guarantee local governments substantial sovereignty under the legal principle known as ‘home rule,’” Kasich wrote.

The bill was originally dubbed the “Stand Your Ground” bill because it would have eliminated the “duty to retreat” provision in Ohio law when someone finds themselves in a life-threatening situation.

“Stand Your Ground” has been met with vocal opposition around the country, as critics say it would only make it easier for someone to use lethal force if they claim it was out of self-defense.

In December, a Senate committee took the “Stand Your Ground” language out of the bill.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.