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Ohio Gun Control Groups Launch Campaign To Stop 'Stand Your Ground' Bill

guns on display in a gun store
Seth Perlman
Associated Press

A coalition of eight groups advocating for more gun control launched an online petition campaign to stop the “Stand Your Ground” bill under consideration in the Ohio legislature. 

Toby Hoover, founder of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, says she’s afraid Republican lawmakers will pick up the contentious gun bill during the lame duck session – the period of time between the November election and the end of the legislative year. 

“They do a lot of things during that month to six weeks, and it seems like they do it with abandon," Hoover says. "Like, 'OK, let’s push all of these things through because then we will start a new year and everybody will forget about it,' I guess."

The Republican-sponsored bill would remove the requirement for gun owners to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. However, critics say similar laws around the country have resulted in increased gun deaths, especially among African Americans, and don't deter crime.

The petition, which has just over 3,100 signatures so far, argues "these laws embolden reckless gun owners to shoot first, ask questions later, then claim self-defense to avoid being held responsible for killing another individual. They can be used to protect white vigilantism and justify violence against people of color." It cites the killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Trayvon Martin in Florida as examples.

Hoover expects at least 100,000 Ohioans will sign the online petition, which will be directed at Gov. Mike DeWine, asking him to veto the bill if it passes. Hoover says she doubts the state would approve the bill right now, especially given the effect it would have on minorities who are fighting for justice reform.

DeWine said last year that he supports "Stand Your Ground," but asked the legislature to set it aside following the mass shooting in Dayton. However, neither Republican nor Democratic lawmakers have shown much interest in the governor's own package of gun reform proposals.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.