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September 29, 2017 Zach Skerl 0Comment

“Stand Your Ground” laws will improve Ohio’s gun attitude.

One of the integral assumptions of the American justice system is that all persons suspected of having committed a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Every time we turn on the television show Cops, a disclaimer flashes on the screen before the start of each episode which reads “All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

As it stands right now in Ohio, gun owners and concealed carriers who use deadly force are quite often cast as guilty until they can prove otherwise. An Ohioan could use their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves, their property, and their loved ones only to then face a tougher burden of proof standard than the criminal that attacked them must meet in defense of their violation.

Ohio law states that “A defendant must show that he did not have a duty to retreat or avoid the danger. A person must retreat or avoid danger by leaving or voicing his intention to leave and ending his participation in the confrontation. If one person retreats and the other continues to fight, the person who left the confrontation may later be justified in using deadly force when he can prove all three conditions of self-defense existed.”

“Castle Doctrine is a step in the right direction and removes power from the hands of criminals, giving law-abiding citizens the upper hand.”

Attempting to retreat out of such a situation where deadly force may be justified could put your life in even more peril and ruin your opportunity to draw your own firearm and defend yourself. Furthermore, it places what is — more or less — assumed guilt on the person who defended themselves.

Today, Ohio has a set of laws called “Castle Doctrine.” This means that if you are in your “castle” (house or car) and someone’s actions make you fear for your life, you are then able to use lethal force without having a duty to retreat. Castle Doctrine is a step in the right direction and removes power from the hands of criminals, giving law-abiding citizens the upper hand.

Ohio House Bill 228 has nearly 40 sponsors and aims to remove the requirement to retreat from Ohioans who defend themselves. The media and anti-gunners will (and have been) perverting and contorting the intentions and language of any gun law and frame stand your ground laws as giving gun owners an excuse to go out and shoot minorities in the streets. Nowhere in the actual language of the bill does it say anything to that effect, nor would any law-abiding gun owners wish to corroborate the anti-gun narrative.

Beyond the obviously dangerous requirement of a law-abiding citizen to retreat before being able to use lethal force, said citizen could potentially have a harder time proving their innocence than a prosecutor would in insinuating the accused’s guilt. A stand your ground law would change the responsibility of a gun owner proving their innocence to a prosecutor proving their guilt.

Gun rights are, among other things, about giving law-abiding citizens more power than the criminals who wish to prey upon them. Ohioans need to be able to stand their ground and should not be subjected to a backwards legal standard. Ohio still has some of the toughest standards for proving a shooting was in self-defense and a stand your ground law will help ensure that penalties will be transferred from the victim to the criminal.

Follow this author on Twitter: @ZSquirrel_UC

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