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'Stand Your Ground' Bill Reintroduced In Ohio House

guns on display in a gun store
Seth Perlman
Associated Press

A conservative Ohio lawmaker has reintroduced the "Stand Your Ground" self-defense bill. 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.

State Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) said her bill would allow a person to use deadly force without 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 to shift the burden of proof in self-defense cases from the defendant to prosecutors. Kasich still vetoed the bill, and lawmakers overrode him.

State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), who's sponsoring DeWine's "STRONG Ohio" gun violence package, said a reintroduced "Stand Your Ground bill" would be "tone deaf to the feelings that are out there."

However, 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.

The "STRONG Ohio" proposal includes what Dolan and DeWine describe as a version of a "red flag" law. 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.

Keller and fellow Republican sponsor Rep. Ron Hood introduced the bill with the help of controversial gun rights activist Chris Dorr. He was recently investigated and eventually cleared by the Ohio State Highway Patrol after warning of what he called "political bodies" if lawmakers passed gun restrictions.

Door also called gun rights groups that work with lawmakers on gun controls “the enemy.”