HB 203 makes changes to Ohio’s laws concerning concealed handgun applications and “stand your ground” self-defense provisions. Currently, in Ohio, an individual may claim self defense if that person can prove several elements. This bill removes one of these elements, specifically the requirement that a defendant prove that he or she attempted to retreat if that person felt endangered while in public. Essentially, HB 203 allows a person to use force while in public without trying to retreat.
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
HB 203 contains certain provisions, commonly referred to as “stand your ground” laws, which unnecessarily expand the definition of self-defense in Ohio. The ACLU of Ohio has serious concerns with increasing the legal justifications for homicide because this further magnifies racial disparities that are already rampant in our criminal justice system.
In states where there are currently “stand your ground” laws, research shows that 36 percent of shootings are ruled justifiable when the shooter is white and the victim is black. However, when the shooter is black and the victim is white, those cases are deemed to be justifiable less than 1% of the time.
The ACLU of Ohio believes that “stand your ground” laws are unnecessary because the common law right of self-defense already exists and HB 203 is more likely to produce harmful outcomes for communities.
Passed out of the House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee on 11/19/13
Passed the House on 11/20/13
Civil Justice (S), Policy and Legislative Oversight (H)