State lawmakers pass firearms bill, with changes, in effort to avoid Kasich veto
It had been known as a "stand your ground" bill, but after changes made and passed by state lawmakers, it can no longer be called that. The Ohio Senate passed and sent to the governor's desk a bill that would change the way self-defense cases are prosecuted. The senate was rushing to get such a bill passed in enough time to allow an override attempt if Governor John Kasich vetoes the bill.
In a compromise, Republican lawmakers dropped the "stand your ground" language, leaving in the current law the so-called "duty to retreat" in situations of self-defense. What did change however is the presumption of guilt in cases of self-defense. In Ohio currently if you kill in self-defense, it's up to you to prove you were in the right.
In the bill passed today, it would be up to prosecutors to prove you were in the wrong. That is a change that wasn't being sought by prosecutors, but would bring Ohio in line with the other 49 states in the US. One lawmaker questioned why it was needed.
"If 49 other states told you to go jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it?” asked John Eklund (R-Chardon).
One other lawmaker spoke out against the bill, saying the state is not doing enough to prevent gun violence.
“The only piece of leg that we have been offered on the gun issue is one that is designed to protect the gun owner," said Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering).
Another high profile bill stalled today. Lawmakers delayed action on the so-called Heartbeat Bill, which would create one of the most stringent abortion laws in the country. Lawmakers could bring that back this session, or wait until the next General Assembly. At that time Governor-elect Mike DeWine will be in office, and he has said he would sign such a law.