Our friendly neighbors to the west are on a gun-rights kick! The Ohio House has just passed legislation that makes a number of important changes to firearm law, which are (probably) about to be confirmed by the Senate. We know some of our members grew up there, while others spend time there for work, family visits, etc. Here's what you should know:
Stand Your Ground
Any Ohio citizen attacked in public currently has a "duty to retreat" before engaging in self defense. If a court decides that a victim didn't try hard enough to escape their attacker before defending themselves, they can be charged with serious crimes. But once the new legislation becomes law, Ohio will join at least 25 other states in "stand your ground" legislation that prevents victims from being charged with a crime for stopping an attack.
Presumption of Innocence
When someone is forced to use lethal self-defense against an attacker, but there is no evidence documenting the attack, it is also currently up to victims to prove they are not guilty of outright murder. (They are presumed to be guilty.) The new legislation reverses this, presuming the innocence of the alleged victim, rather than the attacker.
Open carry is legal in Ohio, but it is not legal to carry a firearm concealed without a permit. Doing so is currently a first-degree misdemeanor. When the new legislation becomes law, the offense will be reduced to a minor misdemeanor – punishable only by a fine – as long as the offender didn’t commit a separate crime while carrying the weapon.
Currently, Ohio landlords can force tenants to sign away their rights to keep a firearm in their home for self defense. The new legislation changes that. Ohio citizens will now be able to enjoy the Second Amendment without fear of being sued or prosecuted.
Right to Challenge
The new legislation also allows individuals to challenge local gun-control ordinances (those made by cities and townships) in court.