Ohio Grapples With "Stand Your Ground Law"

By
Alyssa Hansen

Dateline
Updated Mon, Apr 2, 2012 11:36 am

In the aftermath of Florida teen Trayvon Martin's death, the focus turns to whether or not other states will adopt their own versions of the "Stand Your Ground Law" and Ohio is one of them.  

This would allow a person to use deadly force is he or she feels threatened outside the home.  
 
"What we want to do is give an extra tool to the crime victim to allow them to stand up and defend themselves legally," said Jim Irvine, a lobbyist  for the Buckeye Firearms Association.
 
If someone breaks into your home or vehicle in Ohio, you have the right to use deadly force if you feel that your life is in danger.  
 
But unlike Florida's Stand Your Ground law, cited in the death of Trayvon Martin, that right doesn't extend past your own property.  
 
Irvine has been working with lawmakers to draft legislation that would bring a version of Stand Your Ground to Ohio.  
 
He says this type of legislation relies on learning from other states.  
 
"Where they have laws that work well, copy that.  Where they have problems, fix those problems so that it works better in Ohio," said Irvine.
 
In Columbus, Olde Towne East Block Watch member and gun owner Mike Moore says that intent is a large part of the equation when it comes to whether or not force should be used.  
 
"If I'm in my house and somebody's trying to break through the window or break through the door, to me, you are showing your intent as to what it is you want to do," said Moore.
 
But not everyone agrees with bringing Stand Your Ground to Ohio.  
 
Toby Hoover is the executive director of the Ohio Coaliton Against Gun Violence, and she says that a law like this could have negative consequences.  
 
"We're talking about people's lives here," said Hoover. "We're not talking about property, so I think any time we say we're going to make it easier to take someone else's life, and we're not going to ask questions, we've made a huge mistake."
 
For Moore, the safety of himself and his family is a priority over anything else.  
 
"I will do what I have to do to protect myself," he said, including using deadly force if he feels threatened.  
 
Twenty-four states currently have a law that's similar to Florida's Stand Your Ground.  
 
It's unknown when legislation could be presented to Ohio lawmakers.  
 
Alyssa Hansen is a fellow in Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.
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