Ohio governor backs off veto threat, signs ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a “Stand Your Ground” bill after indicating last month that he might veto it.

Previously, Ohio law required someone to first attempt to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense in any place that is not their vehicle or home. The bill removed the words “vehicle” and “home,” and instead, people will have no duty to retreat as long as they are legally allowed somewhere.

“While campaigning for governor, I expressed my support for removing the ambiguity in Ohio’s self-defense law, and Senate Bill 175 accomplishes this goal,” DeWine said in a statement.

DeWine, who signed the bill Monday, said what bothered him about the bill wasn’t what it included but rather what it didn’t include: provisions that would make it harder for “dangerous criminals to illegally possess and use guns” and increased penalties for those who do. Late last year, DeWine had repeatedly set aside time during his regular coronavirus briefings to discuss gun violence and ask the legislature to address it.

“National and state background check systems are sometimes missing vital information – things such as convictions, active protection orders, and open warrants,” DeWine said in the statement. “Requiring the submission of this important information into the background check systems is a common-sense reform that I will continue to pursue.”

Opponents of the bill have said it will do the opposite of protecting people, especially when it comes to Black Ohioans.

“What Stand Your Ground does, it takes away the victims’ right to their day in court. You get to be the judge and the jury without any type of repercussions for it,” said Rep. Juanita Brent, (D) Cleveland.

Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, expressed disappointment at DeWine for signing the bill.

“This is a dangerous bill that will put Ohioans’ lives at risk,” Yuko said. “This is not what people meant when they asked us to ‘do something’ last year after the deadly mass shooting in Dayton. Democrats will continue to fight for commonsense gun reform, but today is a sad day.”

DeWine said he will continue to push reforms that do not infringe on Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.

“Everyone who cares about these issues knows that the provisions I am requesting in no way infringe upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms,” DeWine said. “They know what I am asking for is to make it harder for guns to get into the hands of criminals.”

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