Ohio’s ‘stand your ground’ gun bill law begins. Here’s what to know.

Ohio’s newest gun bill becomes law this week, allowing armed residents to use deadly force in self-defense in public places without considering first whether they could retreat from danger.

Here is what you should know about the new law:

DeWine, Republicans backed it

Republican state lawmakers pushed the bill through, and Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law in January. DeWine said it safeguards citizens’ rights to protect themselves and removes ambiguity from Ohio’s self-defense law.

DeWine, however, said lawmakers failed to send him legislation in 2020 that would improve background checks and make it more difficult for criminals to illegally have and use guns. He urged action on these provisions.

This is what changed

Under the expiring law, Ohioans had a “duty to retreat” from danger in public places — if possible — before using deadly force in defense of themselves or others. Senate Bill 175 removes that duty.

Supporters, including the National Rifle Association, say it’ll clarify self-defense law.

“Crimes can happen quickly and without warning. Most victims have a split second to react with the best course of action for their survival. By signing SB 175, Gov. DeWine ensures the law favors victims and not criminals,” said John Weber, Ohio director for the NRA.

Critics include Dayton’s mayor

DeWine’s signing drew criticism from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and other gun safety advocates.

“Gov. DeWine came to our city and stood on stage for a vigil for our murdered friends and neighbors, and then told us he stood with our community in our fight against gun violence. Now it seems he does not,” Whaley said in January. “Gov. DeWine has made clear he opposes this dangerous policy, but he once again folded to the extreme elements in his own party. ‘Stand your ground’ will make Ohio less safe — full stop.”

The bill was opposed by civil rights groups and many county prosecutors and police chiefs, including Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, who has said it would make communities less safe and encourage armed vigilantism.

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