Get ready to hear lots of claims about the “Wild, Wild West” coming to Ohio from gun control advocates. As of today, residents of the Buckeye State no longer have a duty to retreat when confronted with an attacker, and can stand their ground in self-defense without having to make a split-second decision about whether they are legally allowed to defend themselves.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the “Stand Your Ground” language in January after legislation received broad support in both the state House and state Senate, despite bizarre claims by anti-gun activists that the bill was racist and would allow individuals who feel threatened to “chase down and kill another person.”
Second Amendment activist Joe Eaton with the Buckeye Firearms Association is among those trying to correct the massive amount of misinformation surrounding the new law.
“You have to realize that the removal of duty-to-retreat really changes nothing else with the self-defense laws in Ohio,” Eaton said.
Eaton insists the state’s new stand your ground law does not mean someone can shoot first and ask questions later.
“You have to first not have started the situation, not have escalated the situation,” he said. “And secondly, you have to be in immediate fear of death or serious bodily harm and have no other option except for deadly force to survive that situation.”
Of course the anti-gun crowd is still spinning the new law as a dangerous new development, despite the fact that 36 other states already have stand your ground laws on the books. Ethan Nichols, executive director of Ohio Students for Gun Legislation, for one, let loose with this lie.
“This isn’t a Second Amendment issue. I support the Second Amendment,” Nichols said. “But this has nothing to do with that. Your ability to shoot someone without just, you know – randomly shoot someone because you feel threatened, it’s ridiculous.”
Nichols worries the new law will exact a heavy toll on minority communities.
“It’s a racist law,” Nichols said. “I think for Ohioans that this is a, very obviously, a step in the wrong direction. This is a step backwards into another century.”
Of course Nichols can’t explain how or why Stand Your Ground is racist. We’re just supposed to take his word that it is, and that any supporter of the self-defense measure must be racist as well. As researcher Howard Nemerov has documented, however, the claims of anti-gun activists aren’t borne out by reality.
Contrary to anti-self-defense rhetoric, blacks are treated equably in Stand Your Ground states. Comprehensive examination of FBI Supplemental Homicide data shows that in Stand Your Ground States:
• There has been no significant increase in black justifiable homicide victims.
• Black defenders account for a higher percent of justifiable homicides.
• Since enactment, Black defenders account for a higher percent of all justifiable defenses against white attackers.
Self-defense is a human right, and that right has been strengthened with the addition of the new Stand Your Ground law in Ohio. You shouldn’t have to present your back as a target and be forced to run away if you’re attacked, and Ohio’s new measure will allow people of all races, colors, and creeds to protect themselves and others if, God forbid, they ever find themselves in a life-or-death situation.