Governor Mike DeWine was coy on Saturday when asked to give his thoughts on Senate Bill 175, a so-called “stand your ground” bill that passed Ohio’s Republican-led Senate this week after similar legislation passed in the Ohio House.
At a press conference focused on the state’s response to COVID-19 on Saturday, Gov. DeWine said he will be addressing the issue early in the week.
Senate Bill 175 would eliminate the duty to retreat before shooting in self-defense.
The bill passed by a vote of 18-11 on Friday. Four Republicans voted against it along with 7 of 9 Democratic state senators.
Hinting at a possible veto, the governor said, “we should not be taking up bills like that, when we have bills that have been in front of the legislature for a year, where we have the opportunity to directly save lives.”
If Senate Bill 175 is signed into law, a person would no longer have a duty to retreat before using force in a self-defense situation if that person is in a place that they have a lawful right to be.
Current law says a person has a duty to retreat unless they are in their home or vehicle.
The governor specifically cited the need to strengthen an area of the law known as “weapons under disability.” The weapons under disability law is a felony, prohibiting certain individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms if they are a fugitive, drug or alcohol dependent, under indictment or convicted of certain offenses, or who have certain mental impairments.
Earlier in the week, DeWine told the Cincinnati Enquirer the legislature shouldn’t consider other gun bills (including stand your ground legislation), “until some protections are passed.”
Democratic State Senator Teresa Fedor of Ohio’s 11th district, which includes Toledo, opposed the bill.
Republican state senators Theresa Gavarone and Rob McColley who represent parts of northwest Ohio voted for the bill.
McColley was a co-sponsor of the bill.