A controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ gun bill will likely get a floor vote in the Ohio House next week and even if Gov. John Kasich follows through with his veto promise, there would be enough support to override a veto, said Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell.
House Bill 228 would give armed Ohioans the right to ‘stand your ground’ when facing a threat in public places such as parks, roads or stores. It would also shift the burden of proof in self-defense cases to the prosecution, which would align Ohio with the vast majority of states.
It is the first pro-gun rights bill to advance to a floor vote since the mass shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas, which prompted national protests and school walk outs.
Meanwhile, a package of six gun control measures — sponsored by state Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, and supported by Kasich — faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled House.
“There is no gun law in America that is going to stop a lot of this (mass shootings.) Criminals don’t abide by the law, by their very nature. It’s not to say we’re insensitive to it or don’t want to do something on it. It’s just that people are very protective of the Second Amendment,” Smith said.
Still, Smith said Henne is expected today to explain the bill to his GOP colleagues and what changes he is willing to accept.
He added that the ‘red flag’ provisions — which would allow for a court to order temporary seizure of firearms from someone who appears to be a danger to themselves or other — is challenging.
“There is concern from people that you could weaponize that type of thing in a domestic situation that could be used against people,” he said. “It’s just something we need to be very thoughtful about.”
Five states have such red flag laws and another 18 are considering them, according to Everytown.org, a gun control group. Some 42-percent of mass shooters exhibited concerning behavior before their crimes, according to the Brady Campaign, another gun control group.
Advocates for Red Flag laws also say they can be used to prevent suicides. In 2016, 924 Ohioans died by suicide using firearms. Nationwide, roughly half of suicides are carried out using firearms.