Click to see the bill for yourself as well as read our Fact Sheet that highlights below about what this bill would, and would not, do!
Feel free to review this and then make sure you contact your State Representative and urge him/her to cosponsor Stand-Your-Ground law for Ohio!
Stand-Your-Ground law was first passed in 2005 in Florida and was signed into law by then-governor Jeb Bush.
The Florida passage of Stand-Your-Ground law triggered a flurry of other states to follow suit and was only slowed in 2012 by the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial.
It is important to note that Zimmerman’s defense team did not invoke Stand-Your-Ground during his defense trial.
In 2016, Missouri became the first state to resume passing Stand-Your-Ground laws, with Iowa following suit in 2017.
Wyoming seems poised to pass Stand-Your-Ground next during their 2018 legislative session.
Stand-Your-Ground historically has 3 major components, but Ohio’s self-defense laws require an additional FOURTH component:
- Stand-Your-Ground law extends the removal of a law-abiding citizen’s “duty to retreat” from an attacker to any place a that citizen has a lawful right to be.
Current Ohio law only protects a law-abiding citizen if they defend themselves in their residence, personal vehicle or vehicle owned by an immediate family member.
- Stand-Your-Ground law provides immunity from civil action that may arise from a law-abiding citizen’s use of defensive force in a place where they are lawfully present, and establishes the right to a pretrial immunity hearing.
Current Ohio law extends immunity protections only if they are employed in a place of residence or vehicle.
This bill also establishes the right to a pre-trial immunity hearing and prevents frivolous lawsuits by putting the onus on an accuser looking to overcome immunity protections by requiring them to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a hearing that the person did not employ reasonable self-defense actions.
In addition, and being consistent with the Stand-Your-Ground laws in other states, it awards the defendant costs and fees incurred by their defense in civil action where the defendant was found immune.
- Stand-Your-Ground law provides immunity from criminal prosecution that may arise from a law-abiding citizen’s use of defensive force in a place where they are lawfully present, and establishes the right to a pretrial immunity hearing.
Current Ohio law does not have these protections in place for a law-abiding citizen who uses force for self-defense in a place other than one’s residence or vehicle.
This bill also establishes the right to a pre-trial immunity hearing that requires a prosecution seeking to overcome immunity to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a judge that a person’s actions were not in self-defense before they are able to proceed with a prosecution in trial.
- Stand-Your-Ground law restores the burden of proof to the prosecution to disprove a citizen’s self-defense claim.
Current Ohio law states that the burden for any affirmative defense is upon the accused.
Stand-Your-Ground law would change that so that there is an exception to this burden in affirmative defense cases “other than self-defense, defense of another, or defense of the accused’s residence.”
In addition to these four major points, this Stand-Your-Ground bill also strengthens and clarifies Ohio’s self-defense laws in several ways:
First, it expands the actions law-abiding citizens are able to take in a self-defense situation to include the threat of force.
Current Ohio law does not provide for this, and this is one of the major areas that distinguishes this Stand-Your-Ground bill from previous attempts to address Ohio’s self-defense law deficiencies.
Myriad of scenarios would suggest that the ability to draw a firearm without pulling the trigger would be all the action necessary to end a defensive situation without actually shooting.
But current Ohio law does not provide for this, and would seemingly open up an otherwise law-abiding citizen to a “brandishing” charge.
This important expansion would likely save lives.
Second, it specifically stipulates that these immunities and protections only apply to citizens who are conducting themselves lawfully.
In other words, it specifically precludes Stand-Your-Ground protections for any person acting in an unlawful manner. A criminal cannot invoke Stand-Your-Ground protections for defending themselves against a shopkeeper whom they robbed, for example.
Third, it specifically protects from arrest, detention, criminal charges, etc in the aftermath of a person’s use of force by including a “reasonable cause” burden for the investigating authority to overcome.
In the aftermath of a self-defense shooting, this clarification would protect citizens genuinely forced to use defensive force from the further trauma of being hauled off to jail.
The burden of proving “reasonable cause” in cases where Stand-Your-Ground is invoked as an excuse to cover a crime is no detriment to our more-than-capable Ohio law-enforcement community!
Fourth, it explicitly uses the word “immunity.”
This legislation makes it very clear to Ohio’s law-abiding citizens that Ohio has their backs if they are ever forced to use a firearm to defend themselves from criminal attack.
This legislation also makes it very clear to Ohio’s criminal element that the days of Ohio’s laws favoring the criminal are over.
With 32 states already recognizing the law-abiding citizen’s right to Stand-Your-Ground against criminal attack, it is time to add Ohio as the 33rd!