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Guns in the News: DeWine and Ohio’s Self-Defense Law

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There’s some good news coming out of the Midwest that pertains to Ohio’s self-defense law. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine recently signed SB 175 into law on Jan. 4, 2021 (effective April 6, 2021). This “stand your ground” bill expands the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat before using force under both civil and criminal law.

“I have always believed that it is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation,” DeWine wrote after he signed the bill. “I expressed my support for removing the ambiguity in Ohio’s self-defense law, and Senate Bill 175 accomplishes this goal.”

Falling Short

Gov. DeWine’s series of legislative proposals — which he calls the “STRONG Ohio” Bill — were unveiled in August 2019, the same month as the mass shooting in Dayton. These proposals are intended to better protect Ohio citizens and law enforcement officers from those with a propensity toward violence and to provide help to individuals who are a danger to themselves or others. DeWine advocates for increased and improved background checks to guarantee individuals don’t have firearms if a court has deemed those individuals to be a danger. In addition, he calls for:

  • Increased penalties for anyone who provided a gun to someone who is legally prohibited from having one
  • Certain types of protection orders and arrest warrants to be reflected in state and federal law enforcement databases

While he signed the bill improving Ohio’s self-defense law, DeWine said SB 175 fell short by not adopting his legislative proposals. He expressed his disappointment that the Ohio 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.”

“Right now, the national and state background check systems are sometimes missing vital information — things such as convictions, active protection orders and open warrants — that alert law enforcement if they’re dealing with a wanted or potentially dangerous individual,” DeWine continued. “This information is also used by the federal government to alert retailers when a convicted criminal or wanted subject prohibited from possessing a gun tries to buy one. Requiring the submission of this important information into the background check systems is a common-sense reform that I will continue to pursue. It has broad-based support from law enforcement, gun-store owners, and the National Rifle Association — which has long said that the background check system needs to be fixed.”

He plans to continue to seek strengthened penalties for criminals who illegally possess, purchase and sell guns. “These are the people who are most likely to use a gun to hurt someone,” he declared, “so it makes perfect sense for Ohio to get tough on those who are out to harm others.”

What to Expect Next

Gov. DeWine doesn’t intend to infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms. But he does want to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on guns. He aims to continue to work with the Ohio Legislature to make this happen in order to better protect Ohioans.


About Rick Sapp

After his stint in the U.S. Army, including time as an infantry platoon leader and working with West German KRIPO during the 1968 Soviet invasion, Rick Sapp returned home to earn a Ph.D. in social anthropology. Following his education from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Catholic University of America and the University of Florida, he moved to France for a year. Rick worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing, authoring more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.

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