From Florida to Kansas to Vermont, lawmakers in red and blue states have passed bipartisan gun safety laws this year. And in Ohio, too, a number number of lawmakers have worked across the aisle this year on gun safety: In April, legislators introduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen state gun laws in important ways.
But rather than advancing these sensible gun safety bills, Ohio representatives will likely vote next week on ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation that would weaken the state’s gun laws.
The bill likely to be voted on next week, HB 228, would upend traditional self-defense law in Ohio and allow a person to shoot to kill in public, even when there is a clear and safe alternative. States with Stand Your Ground laws see increases in homicide rates, and these laws also have been shown to have a disproportionate effect on communities of color.
Rather than holding hearings on Stand Your Ground legislation — which Gov. Kasich has said he would not sign — Ohio lawmakers could instead be working to pass pending bipartisan gun safety proposals. Earlier this year, a committee of Republican and Democratic lawmakers recommended several additions to Ohio gun laws, including:
Red Flag legislation, which would empower family members and law enforcement officers to seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order, a court order temporarily restricting a person’s access to guns when they pose a risk to self or others. Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island and New Jersey have already enacted Red Flag legislation in the wake of the Parkland tragedy. More information is available here about Red Flag laws.
Legislation to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. More than two dozen other states have taken action in recent years to protect women and families by keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. More information about how Ohio can join these states is available here.
The proposals recommended by the bipartisan committee have been introduced in the legislature as HB 585 and SB 288. To learn more about how they would strength Ohio’s public safety laws, and or how HB 228 would weaken them, please don’t hesitate to reach out.