The Ohio black legislative caucus is rallying together to try to stop Stand Your Ground laws from reaching the Buckeye State. The group is circulating petitions to slow down the momentum behind the SYG drive.
Gun supporters are trying to ditch the state’s Duty to Retreat clause, which has been on the books since the 1800s.
Ken Hanson from the Buckeye Firearms Foundation argued, "I think the national trend is the duty to physically retreat from the bad guy is something not making sense in the United States.”
He added that the law will not transform Ohio into the Wild West because shooters will still have to prove in court that they acted in self-defense. "It's not that big of a change," he added. "What it does is remove the perception that you have to get in a foot race with the bad guy."
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House Minority Leader Trace Maxwell Heard wasn’t buying the argument. "I think it's absolutely dangerous to have to elevate it to Stand Your Ground," she said. "We have far too many gun laws on the books here. There are just too many ways for this to go wrong and the average citizen is just not equipped to read those situations. I don't think it's rational at all."
She added that racial factors have a huge impact on SYG. "When you look at how cases were determined since that law, to ask whether there's a disparity there, all you have to do is look at the numbers," she said. "If the victim was a white person, it was 30 percent that Stand Your Ground applied to the minority shooter. If the victim was a minority or African American then it was 73 percent where the Stand Your Ground applied if the shooter was a white person - a definite disparity."
In any event, the efforts of the black caucus might be in vain. The Republican-led majority will probably be able to pass a SYG law with or without the help of the black caucus. The only question is whether or not adding SYG to Ohio law will make citizens of the Buckeye State any safer.