For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Contact: Dan Williamson, Mayor’s Office, 645-5300
Mayor Coleman Urges General Assembly to Reject Stand Your Ground Proposal
Ohio HB 203 Would Encourage Armed Vigilantism, Weaken Concealed Carry Standards
Mayor Michael B. Coleman today urged Ohio lawmakers to reject House Bill 203, which would allow a person to use deadly force even if there is a safe way to avoid a violent conflict. Known as Stand Your Ground, the proposal would give untrained individuals citizens more leeway to fire on a fellow citizen than is given to United States military soldiers in war zones. HB 203 is opposed by Ohio law enforcement, including the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. The bill would also weaken Ohio’s concealed carry standards by allowing residents of other states to carry concealed guns in Ohio without meeting Ohio standards, and it would weaken law enforcement’s ability to prevent gun trafficking.
“Our state lawmakers have before them yet another horrible idea from the gun lobby,” Mayor Michael B. Coleman said. “This proposal would encourage violence among our residents while making the duties of law enforcement officers more difficult and more dangerous. HB 203 deserves a resounding defeat in the Ohio General Assembly.”
Mayor Coleman is Ohio chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. A 2013 study by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that justifiable homicide rates increased by 53 percent in states that passed Stand Your Ground laws, while they decreased by 5 percent in states without these laws. A 2012 study by researchers at Texas A&M found that Stand Your Ground laws are associated with a clear increase in homicides, resulting in as many as 700 more homicides nationwide each year. Research indicates that Stand Your Ground laws embolden people to shoot when they could have resolved conflicts by using a lesser degree of force or simply walking away. And, despite the assertions of Stand Your Ground supporters, Texas A&M found no evidence that Stand Your Ground laws deter crime. HB 203 would make Ohio the first new Stand Your Ground state since evidence became public about the danger of these laws. Not a single new state has passed a Stand Your Ground law since 2011, and states with Stand Your Ground statutes are now taking action to repeal or reform these dangerous laws.
Under traditional self-defense law, a person can use force to defend himself anywhere; when a person is outside his or her own home, deadly force cannot be used if there is a safe way to avoid it. Traditional self-defense does not require that a person retreat from a situation if doing so would be dangerous. HB203 would allow a person to kill someone in public, even when he or she could have safely walked away from a conflict.
HB 203 would also undermine Ohio’s concealed carry standards by allowing out-of-state residents to carry guns under permits obtained in states with much weaker standards. Ohio standards for the issuance of concealed carry permits include prohibitions against carrying by dangerous individuals, such as:
- · Individuals convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, including menacing by stalking, arson, and intimidating a victim or witness in a criminal case;
- · Individuals convicted of two or more acts of assault in the five years prior to the application;
- · Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor for resisting arrest in the 10 years prior to the application.
- · Individuals who are chronic alcoholics.
In addition, applicants must complete a certified firearms safety training course that includes a live fire exercise, and training for safe storage and handling, must certify that they are seeking to obtain a concealed carry permit to protect themselves and their families and must be at least 21 years old.
Further, HB 203 would weaken the ability to prevent gun trafficking. Gun traffickers who have concealed carry permits would be able to bring cars or backpacks full of guns into destination states and present their permit if stopped. No permit would be necessary for traffickers who reside in states that do not require permits to carry concealed weapons.
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