Cleveland Op-Ed Thinks Ohio Bill Still 'Stand Your Ground' Law

It’s easy to get complacent, to believe that anti-gunners aren’t all that bright. After all, you can show them mountains of data showing that gun laws don’t work, and they’ll never believe you.

The thing is, though they may often be emotionally driven, they’re not exactly stupid. Not all of them, anyway.

However, after reading an op-ed like this, one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

State Rep. Sarah LaTourette of Chesterland, who introduced House Bill 228 in May 2017 with fellow Republican Rep. Terry Johnson of southern Ohio, has consistently argued it was not a “stand your ground bill.” It’s just a “duty to retreat” bill, she told our editorial board earlier this year, noting that the words “stand your ground” did not appear in the legislation.

But contrary to those statements, it was a stand your ground bill. “No duty to retreat” is functionally the same, as our editorial board noted in opposing the bill.

Now, Amended Substitute HB 228 is headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk with the “no duty to retreat” language excised. So does that no longer make it a stand your ground bill?


At the core of the original bill, to underscore its stand-your-ground set of rights, was a provision upending the longstanding legal requirement in every state of the union that someone claiming they shot in self-defense show by a preponderance of the evidence that they were justified in believing that.

Instead, it shifted — and in the amended substitute bill headed to Kasich, still shifts — the burden of proof to prosecutors in Ohio to show by a higher legal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was not self-defense.

The argument is that because prosecutors have to prove someone is guilty–something they routinely do–this is somehow the same as Stand Your Ground.

Well, it’s not.

For one thing, the duty to retreat is still in effect in Ohio. While there may well be cases where it may be difficult to prove the individual in question could have retreated, there are numerous other cases where it will be obvious. For example, a man shoots another man in an alleyway. The police arrest him, and he claims self-defense.

The prosecutor has to show that both ways of the alley were open, there was no barrier to him retreating and no physical evidence to suggest the shooter was physically unable to take one of those.

Granted, that’s a case I just made up to fit the facts, but it’s also a plausible scenario.

The fact is, a prosecutor can still prosecute. In fact, that’s the bloody problem.

Nothing in the new bill removes the duty to retreat. That means people can still be prosecuted for defending themselves. Oh, it may be more difficult, but you’re deluded if you think prosecutors in the more anti-gun urban areas won’t do it. More to the point, they’ll win, and people will go to prison for defending their own lives.

That’s why this bill is nothing more than a shirking of the lawmaker’s constitutional duties.

And it’s still not too far for anti-gun media talking heads.

It’s almost like they don’t think people should defend themselves, isn’t it?