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Ohio Legislature May Revive 'Stand Your Ground' And 'Red Flag' Bills Next Year

Lisa Marie Pane

Ohio Senate president Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said he's open to discussing two high-profile gun laws when the General Assembly returns next year: the "Stand Your Ground" bill and the "red flag law."

The two proposals caused a rift among members of the Ohio legislature and Gov. John Kasich.

The "Stand Your Ground" bill was moving through the Legislature before a Senate committee stripped controversial language from HB 228. The measure, which is highly sought-after by pro-gun groups, would make it easier to use lethal force in self-defense by eliminating the "duty to retreat" in life-threatening situations.

State Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester), who chaired the committee that stripped the "Stand Your Ground" language, seemed to suggest the provision did not have enough votes to pass the chamber – let alone a successful veto override.

The bill ultimately passed by the legislature focused on shifting the burden of proof in self-defense cases, as well as preventing municipalities from passing local gun control measures. Despite Kasich’s disapproval, the legislature gathered enough support to override his veto.

Somewhat surprisingly, Obhof said he’d also like to take a closer look at the “red flag law,” which allows courts to take firearms away from a person who poses a threat to themselves or others. This was part of Kasich's "common sense" gun regulations package that he proposed after the Parkland shooting.

In his veto message of the self-defense gun bill, Kasich said he was unhappy about the General Assembly's unwillingness to move the "red flag law this year." But Obhof said Kasich's version is flawed.

“I think that the majority of us didn’t think that it accounted for due process properly, of that it allowed right to counsel maybe in all the circumstances where it should,” Obhof said.

Governor-elect Mike DeWine has said he supports "Stand Your Ground" and he would possibly sign a "red flag law" under certain conditions.

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.