COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Senate is set to vote this week on a bill that would eliminate a person’s duty to retreat before using force in self-defense.
Current Ohio law requires a person to retreat before using force in self-defense or to defend someone else, unless that person is in his or her home or vehicle.
But Senate Bill 383 seeks to eliminate that requirement anywhere a person has a lawful right to be.
“We’re protecting crime victims,” said Joe Eaton, region leader for the Buckeye Firearms Association. “We should be looking at the innocent people and the victims of crime and trying to protect them instead of punish them after the fact.”
Eaton told 2 NEWS he supports Senate Bill 383, arguing it would make people safer outside their home or vehicle.
“If you have an option and the ability to leave a situation without using deadly force, that’s the current law and will still be there once the duty to retreat has been removed,” Eaton said.
If a person shoots someone and claims self-defense, Senate Bill 383 says a court cannot consider the possibility of retreat to determine whether that person used force in self-defense.
Others are calling on the governor to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.
“There’s the castle doctrine and all kinds of ways to protect you,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D). “But ‘stand your ground,’ over and over in states where it has been passed, makes it more dangerous.”
Mayor Whaley said she believes the bill could lead to an increase in gun violence.
Chief Richard Biehl of the Dayton Police Department also argues the bill would not reduce crime and instead pose a threat to officers and community members.
“It would threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism and allow a person to kill another person in a public area even when he or she can clearly and safely walk away from danger,” Chief Biehl said.
The full Ohio Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.