DARKE COUNTY – On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill that paved the way for major reforms in some of the state’s concealed-weapons laws.
The legislation aims to change Ohio’s “castle doctrine,” which designates a person’s residence as a place in which that person has certain protections and immunities. Current Ohio law specifies that individuals are allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves if threatened in their homes or vehicles.
Under HB 203, that right is extended to all locations where a person is legally permitted to carry a gun.
Specifically, the provision would do away with the state’s law requiring a person to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense.
However if these circumstances were to occur, the person firing the weapon must be able to prove that his or her life was in danger.
“The legislation strengthens the existing law on concealed carry, and in the future we’ll be able to feel more secure and be able to defend ourselves from intruders,” said 84th District House Representative Jim Buchy, who voted for the bill.
House Bill 203 was passed by a vote of 62-27, with six Democrats supporting the bill, although it was reported to receive lengthy opposition from other Democratic legislators who advised that a “stand your ground” self-defense provision would lead to increased gun violence in the state, specifically against minorities.
In response, supporters of the bill argued that many of the same people in opposition to the bill also falsely foretold an increase of violence from concealed carry legislation.
“With all due respect, that’s what they said when they passed concealed carry the first time. We’re going to have a lawless society, the wild west,” said Rep. Buchy. “But it hasn’t been that way. It’s the reverse.”
The bill also initiates the requirement that Ohio recognize concealed handgun licenses from any state that recognizes Ohio’s concealed handgun licenses. Currently, Ohio only recognizes CCW licenses from states with which the state has a written reciprocity agreement.
The bill additionally prohibits a person with a fifth-degree felony drug offense from acquiring a CCW license for at least 10 years, while anyone with multiple fifth-degree drug offenses is permanently prohibited from obtaining a license.
The bill will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.