The Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statements after the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee hearing on destructive Stand Your Ground legislation. The bill, HB 381, 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.
“Although research shows that Stand Your Ground laws are not effective and disproportionately affect communities of color, Ohio lawmakers continue to push this legislation forward and jeopardize the safety of Ohioans,” Shela Blanchard, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Ohio lawmakers should focus on common-sense gun safety measures, like Ohioans are demanding.”
“It is disappointing to see Ohio lawmakers continue to fast-track Stand Your Ground legislation that doesn’t work to prevent violent crime and has led to more homicides and more gun violence in states where it has been enacted,” Mackenzie Mueller, a volunteer with the Miami University Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Legislators should focus on common-sense gun safety solutions that work.”
In an average year, more than 500 people in Ohio die by gun homicide. This number would likely increase if a Stand Your Ground law is enacted. Research shows that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was associated with a 32 percent increase in firearm homicide rates. In 79 percent of Florida Stand Your Ground claims, the person who invoked Stand Your Ground could have retreated to avoid the confrontation. In 68 percent of those cases, the person killed was unarmed. Nationally, Stand Your Ground laws are associated with an increase in firearm homicides and injuries, and do not deter crime. In fact, at least 30 people nationwide are killed each month as a result of Stand Your Ground laws.
Additionally, Stand Your Ground has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. When white shooters kill Black victims, the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable 11 times more frequently than when the shooter is Black and the victim is white.
More information about the risks of Stand Your Ground policies are available here. Statistics about gun violence in Ohio are available here, and information on how Ohio’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.