Today, state Senator Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) expressed opposition to Senate Bill 175, the controversial Stand Your Ground bill that will be on the Senate floor today.
“Our role as legislators is to protect Ohioans, and they have called on us again and again to ‘do something’ about gun violence in our state,” Maharath said. “Instead, we’re prioritizing a dangerous bill that does nothing to save lives and instead creates more opportunities for people to be killed.”
Under current law, individuals have a duty to retreat if they can reasonably deescalate or escape a situation without putting themselves at risk. However, Senate Bill 175, which was amended in the House last night to include Stand Your Ground language, would remove the duty to retreat in most public spaces – meaning that someone could justify shooting another person as a result of a perceived threat.
According to a 2013 Texas A&M University study, Stand Your Ground laws have led to an 8% increase in murders in other states. The bill, which is opposed by groups including Moms Demand Action, the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, the ACLU and the League of Women Voters of Ohio, comes at a time when rates of gun violence have increased throughout the state. According to the Office of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety
, the eight largest cities in Ohio have seen gun violence crimes go up by 17% in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Murder by firearm has also increased by 27% during the first 6 months of 2020.
“At a time when rates of gun violence are surging across Ohio, the last thing Ohioans need are more potentially dangerous situations. I encourage my colleagues to vote no on this legislation,” Maharath said.