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DeWine signs 'stand your ground' legislation into law

Ohio becomes the 36th state to no longer require people to retreat before they can justifiably hurt or kill someone with a gun in self-defense.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File
FILE - In this March 5, 2019, file photo, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Governor Mike DeWine has signed a bill that will remove a legal requirement for people to attempt to retreat from a confrontation before shooting to kill in perceived self-defense.

The legislation, commonly referred to as “stand your ground,” passed the House in a 52-31 vote on Dec. 17. The following day, the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 18-11.

On Monday, Gov. DeWine announced he had signed the bill into 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. While campaigning for Governor, I expressed my support for removing the ambiguity in Ohio’s self-defense law, and Senate Bill 175 accomplishes this goal. That is why I have signed this bill today,” DeWine said in a released statement.

In 2008, lawmakers removed the duty to retreat in a confrontation in one’s home or vehicle, a concept known as “castle doctrine.” Senate Bill 175 expands expand the castle doctrine to almost any place where a person is lawfully present.

If a person does shoot someone else and claim self-defense, the legislation says a court cannot consider the possibility of retreat when assessing whether that person used force in self-defense.

The governor added he was disappointed that the legislature did not include provisions he proposed to make it harder for dangerous criminals to illegally possess and use guns.

"I also support and will continue to seek strengthened penalties for criminals who illegally possess, purchase, and sell guns,” DeWine said. “These are the people who are most likely to use a gun to hurt someone, so it makes perfect sense for Ohio to get tough on those who are out to harm others.”

After the 2019 Dayton shooting left nine dead and 27 injured, DeWine pushed for legislation to bolster the background check system used before a firearms purchase, toughen laws on people in possession of guns if they’ve lost the legal right to wield them, and expand a legal process for courts to temporarily seize guns from people in mental health crises.

With DeWine's signature, Ohio becomes the 36th state to no longer require people to retreat before they can justifiably hurt or kill someone with a gun in self-defense.