Columbus, Ohio, December 18, 2020 – A coalition of Ohio-based and national advocacy organizations calls on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to veto any dangerous ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation that is sent to his desk. Rather than prioritizing Covid-19 relief for families even as an outbreak surged through the statehouse, Republican state legislators have used the lame duck session to push through legislation that would eliminate the “duty to retreat” before shooting in self-defense, making Ohio communities less safe. Last night, just before midnight, the Ohio House passed “stand your ground” or “no duty to retreat” language as an amendment to an unrelated bill, SB175, which simply would grant civil immunity to nonprofit corporations for certain injuries, deaths, or losses resulting from the carrying of handguns. The Senate has just passed the bill today.
“Stand Your Ground” laws twist the legal standard for self-defense by permitting the use of lethal force—even in situations where violence can be avoided. In practice, these laws make it easier to get away with murder and compound the racism that runs rampant in our criminal justice system.
Rather than reducing crime, “Stand Your Ground” laws have been proven to increase homicide rates and they disproportionately lead to violence against communities of color. The governor has a responsibility to the people of Ohio to veto this dangerous and discriminatory policy.
The Coalition shared:
“The Stand Your Ground legislation poses a serious threat to the safety of Ohio communities and will make it easier to get away with murder. This dangerous legislation must not become law, especially given the surge in gun violence this year. It will do nothing to reduce crime but will increase violence and encourage acts of armed vigilantism. We stand with the voters, mayors, and police chiefs across Ohio that have publicly opposed this law and call on Governor DeWine to protect Ohioans by vetoing any version of stand your ground language that hits his desk.”
ABOUT STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS:
Beginning with Florida in 2005, a number of states enacted Stand Your Ground laws which fundamentally altered the law of self-defense. Traditionally, the law of self-defense put a premium on protecting life; the law imposed on private citizens a duty to try, if possible, to retreat from a dangerous confrontation prior to deploying lethal force in self-defense (with a narrow exception for confrontations occurring in their homes under the ‘castle doctrine’). Stand Your Ground laws limit this duty to retreat even in contexts outside of the home.
Stand Your Ground laws threaten everyone’s safety, particularly Black Americans. These laws embolden racially-motivated vigilantism, undermine public safety, and encourage individuals to believe that, even if they could avoid a lethal confrontation, they can kill someone and later claim self-defense to avoid being held responsible.
FAST FACTS ABOUT STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS:
- The American Medical Association found that FL’s implementation of its Stand Your Ground law led to a 24.4% increase in homicides overall and a 32% increase in firearm-related homicides specifically.
- The American Bar Association found that interracial homicides spiked in the states that had Stand Your Ground laws.
- A study of data from 23 states with Stand Your Ground laws found that white homicide defendants with Black victims were 12 times more likely to have Stand Your Ground ruled in their favor than Black defendants whose victims were white.
About Recent Coalition Polling in Ohio:
While Ohio Republicans work to push the gun lobby’s agenda through dangerous bills during the lame duck session, the #StandWithOhio Coalition recently highlighted statewide support for common-sense gun safety reforms. New polling commissioned in November by the gun violence prevention organizations Brady, Giffords and the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence showed that an overwhelming majority of Ohio voters support life-saving policies such as extreme risk protection orders and requiring carry permits.
The poll found that:
- More than 60 percent of Ohio voters oppose a change in Ohio law that would allow Ohioans to carry a concealed loaded gun in public places without a license.
- 74 percent of Ohio voters support an extreme risk law that would allow family members and/or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove guns from individuals who are at risk of harming themselves or others.
- Extreme risk protection orders are supported by 69 percent of Ohio Republicans and 61 percent of Ohioans who voted for President Trump in 2016.
- Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
- States United to Prevent Gun Violence
- Amnesty International USA
- The Brady Campaign and Brady Ohio
- The Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF)
- The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV)
- March for Our Lives Ohio
- Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action