COLUMBUS, Ohio. – Yesterday, Ohio Moms Demand Action and Student Demand Action volunteers testified against the destructive Stand Your Ground legislation making its way through the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, SB 237, 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.
Volunteers and students also testified in favor of a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21.
“The research is clear. Stand Your Ground laws do not make states safer – they make them less safe,” Kristine Woodworth, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Ohio lawmakers need to get to work on passing common-sense gun safety bills to prevent gun violence instead of policies that have been proven to result in more gun deaths.”
“Growing up in Florida, I have seen how dangerous Stand Your Ground policy really is, and it’s scary watching Ohio head down the same deadly path,” Mitchell Pinsky, a volunteer with the Ohio State University chapter of Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “After the policy went into effect, Florida made headlines for letting killers with histories of violence avoid murder charges. Ohio lawmakers should learn from the mistakes of Florida and vote against this dangerous legislation and instead focus on common-sense gun safety measures that will prevent gun violence.”
An average of 523 people in Ohio die by gun homicide every year. 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. Stand Your Ground also 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.