Ohio step closer to having ‘Stand your ground’ gun law

Bill passes Ohio House committee, Gov. Kasich has threatened a veto.

A controversial bill to give armed Ohioans the right to “stand your ground” in public places such as parks, roads or stores moved out of a House committee on Tuesday.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who now supports what he calls common sense gun control, has promised to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

House Bill 228 cleared the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee on a 7-3 vote. It is uncertain when the bill may receive a floor vote. The House hasn’t held session in more than a month since Republicans have been unable to agree on who should serve as speaker after Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, stepped down in April.

The bill would shift the burden of proof in self-defense cases to the prosecution and remove the legal “duty to retreat” when faced with threats or perceived threats — a provision opposed by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and supported by the Ohio Public Defender.

The bill has backing from pro-gun rights groups such as Ohio Gun Owners and Buckeye Firearms Association but it is opposed by the ACLU of Ohio, League of Women Voters of Ohio, Moms Demand Action, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence and March for Our Lives.

>>Related: Stand your ground bill pending in Ohio

It is the first pro-gun rights bill to advance since the mass shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas where teen-age suspects are accused to opening fire on high school campuses. The Parkland shooting prompted national protests and school walk outs — including in Ohio — in which student activists called for gun control.

>>Related: Door opens at Ohio Statehouse for gun control talks 

Kasich, a long-time darling of the National Rifle Association who has signed gun rights bills into law, did an about face on gun issues. He is now backing a package of bills that call for banning bump stocks and high-capacity magazines and families and law enforcement to get court orders to remove guns from loved ones who appear to be a danger to themselves or others.

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