Senate District 9
Cecil Thomas
Senate Democrats Reject Watered-Down Gun Bill
December 6, 2018
Today, the Ohio Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 228. The controversial legislation, which before it was amended would have made Ohio a Stand-Your-Ground state, now primarily changes burden of proof standards in cases of self-defense and further limits cities’ ability to regulate firearms.

“As I’ve met with young people, moms and families this year, their message has been clear,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights). “Ohioans want us to strengthen our gun laws so we can help reduce senseless deaths. I voted against HB 228 because this bill makes no meaningful attempt to reduce gun violence in our state.”

Senate Democrats introduced amendments to remove further limitations on local communities and to allow law enforcement officials to ask a court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who might present a danger to themselves or others – a provision that Governor John Kasich said he wanted to see added to Ohio law. Both amendments were tabled.

“While I am relieved that the duty to retreat has been preserved in HB 228, I am still concerned by other elements of the bill, particularly its infringement on localities’ constitutional right to home rule,” said state Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati). “At the end of the day, this bill does not promote gun safety in Ohio. It is my hope that next year the General Assembly works to implement commonsense gun control while still protecting the Second Amendment.”

The Senate-passed version of HB 228 was also stripped of provisions meant to limit penalties for individuals illegally carrying a concealed handgun.

“The changes made today to the Stand-Your-Ground bill are attributable to the tireless efforts of gun reform advocates all across the state,” said state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron). “However, troubling aspects of this legislation remain in place including the restrictions on local governments to enact gun safety reforms. This heavy-handed approach strips our local governments of their ability to pass laws that best fit the needs of their communities, and sets a dangerous precedent for the future.” 

The bill now goes back to the House. If the lower chamber concurs, it will be sent to Governor John Kasich for his signature.

“Although I am happy to see the changes to HB 228, specifically with the removal of Stand Your Ground, I still feel that this legislation would severely limit local governments and municipalities from regulating firearms in a commonsense manner,” said state Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland). “Thus, I still opposed HB 228 and urge my colleagues to enact laws that instead address the issue of gun violence in Ohio.”
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