Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a “stand your ground” bill into law on Monday that eliminates a person’s duty to retreat when acting in self-defense during a life-threatening situation.
Gov. DeWine, a Republican, was under pressure from gun-control groups to veto the measure after he expressed support for several gun control policies following the massacre in Dayton, Ohio. On Monday, he decided to sign the bill but expressed disappointment that the legislature failed to take up any of his gun control policies.
“It is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation,” DeWine said in a statement. “While campaigning for Governor, I expressed my support for removing the ambiguity in Ohio’s self-defense law, and Senate Bill 175 accomplishes that goal. That is why I have signed this bill today.”
“I am very disappointed, however, that the legislature did not include in this bill the essential provisions that I proposed to make it harder for dangerous criminals to illegally possess and use guns,” he continued.
SEE ALSO: Know When to Stand Your Ground and When You Have a Duty to Retreat (Part I – Stand Your Ground)
Moms Demand Action was among the groups hoping DeWine would veto the legislation. They argue that stand your ground laws promote violence and “disproportionately affect communities of color.”
“When it comes to gun safety, Governor DeWine is all talk and no action,” said Lisa Voigt, a volunteer with Ohio Moms Demand Action. “By kowtowing to the extremists in the legislature he has failed his constituents and let the world know that he stands with the gun lobby over public safety. By signing this reckless, racist legislation he is putting Ohioans at risk.”
“Talk is cheap,”said Mitchell Pinsky, a junior at The Ohio State University and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board.“Gov. DeWine has said a lot about wanting to prevent gun violence, but instead he threw his power behind this racist and dangerous policy that we know will only increase gun violence. Ohioans deserve leaders who will act on calls to prevent gun violence and tackle systemic racism — not enact shameful laws that take us backward.”
In his statement Monday, DeWine reiterated his support for a law mandating stricter reporting requirements to the national and state background check systems as well as a law increasing penalties for those who possess guns illegally.
SEE ALSO: Know When to Stand Your Ground and When You Have a Duty to Retreat (Part II – Duty to Retreat)
“In the spirit of cooperation with the General Assembly, I have signed Senate Bill 175. I look forward to working with members of the legislature in the future to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to protect the rights of citizens who follow the law,” DeWine concluded.
“Stand your ground” laws have been characterized by the anti-gun lobby as encouraging shootouts in situations that could have ended peacefully. In reality, “stand your ground” laws require the person who acted in self-defense to prove that he or she reasonably believed they were in danger of death or serious bodily harm. “Stand your ground” policies simply say that people faced with life-threatening situations do not have to consider whether or not they have a safe avenue of retreat.
Ohio joins 34 other states that have some form of “stand your ground” or expanded castle doctrine laws on the books, according to the RAND Corporation.