GUN

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The House voted 59-21 to ap­prove the changes, send­ing it to Ka­sich.

The bur­den-of-proof change “would en­sure that those who are ac­cused of a crime in a self-de­fense case re­ceive a fair and just trial,” said John Com­mer­ford, deputy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion.

County pros­e­cu­tors have op­posed the change, ar­gu­ing that gun-rights ad­vo­cates have failed to show when cur­rent law has re­sulted in mis­car­riages of jus­tice.

“Pros­e­cu­tors aren’t charg­ing peo­ple who jus­ti­fi­ably are us­ing force in self-de­fense right now,” said Louis Tobin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Ohio Pros­e­cut­ing At­tor­neys As­so­ci­a­tion. “This makes it harder to pros­e­cute peo­ple who are us­ing force that is not jus­ti­fi­able.”

Three Se­nate Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing Sen. Stephanie Kunze, R-Hil­liard, voted against the bill.

Sen. John Ek­lund, R-Chardon, said the only rea­son he’s heard for mak­ing the change is be­cause other states have done it. “So what?” he said, adding that he knows of no Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Ket­ter­ing

pro­lif­er­a­tion of im­proper prose­cu­tion of those as­sert­ing self-de­fense.

Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Ket­ter­ing, noted the many shoot­ing deaths in Ohio.

“So far the re­sponse of this body has been to do noth­ing about that,” she said. “Even the most sim­ple, com­mon-sense mea­sures have been re­jected by this body. In­stead, the only piece of leg­is­la­tion … is de­signed to pro­tect the gun owner.”

A num­ber of pro­vi­sions in the House-passed bill backed by the NRA and other gun-rights or­ga­ni­za­tions were stripped out, in­clud­ing its key el­e­ment — a standy­our-ground pro­vi­sion that would have elim­i­nated state law’s duty to re­treat, which re­quires some­one in­volved in a con­flict to leave the scene, if pos­si­ble, be­fore us­ing lethal force.

“While an av­enue of es­cape will nat­u­rally be sought if safe and avail­able, it should not be the only op­tion re­quired un­der the law,” Com­mer­ford said.

But crit­ics, in­clud­ing lawen­force­ment of­fi­cials and pros­e­cu­tors, ar­gued that the pro­vi­sion was un­nec­es­sary and could lead to more firearm deaths if peo­ple are em­bold­ened to think they no longer need to try to de-es­ca­late a con­fronta­tion be­fore us­ing force.

“Stud­ies have shown that this leg­is­la­tion makes com­mu­ni­ties in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous and less safe,” said Rep. Stephanie Howse, D-Cleve­land, pres­i­dent of the Ohio Leg­isla­tive Black Cau­cus.

The bill also would no longer re­duce penal­ties for im­prop­erly car­ry­ing a firearm to mi­nor mis­de­meanors. Crit­ics said that would en­cour­age peo­ple to skip get­ting a con­cealed­carry li­cense.

The bill as passed also re­quires a con­cealed-carry li­cense holder to show lawen­force­ment of­fi­cers that li­cense when ap­proached, and it bans straw-man pur­chases — when some­one buys a firearm for a per­son who other­wise would not be able to ob­tain it. It gives cities nine months to re­move lo­cal gun or­di­nances from their books.

“I don’t think there has ever been a time when we’ve got­ten ev­ery­thing we wanted,” said Jim Irvine, pres­i­dent of the Buck­eye Firearms As­so­ci­a­tion. “We will be back to work on duty-to-re­treat next ses­sion. It’s a pri­or­ity.”

“Even the most sim­ple, com­mon-sense mea­sures have been re­jected by this body. In­stead, the only piece of leg­is­la­tion … is de­signed to pro­tect the gun owner.”

Chris Dorr, di­rec­tor of Ohio Gun Own­ers, a group that has pushed for even stronger standy­our-ground pro­vi­sions, said, “gun own­ers just got stabbed in the back.” He blamed Irvine. In an email with the sub­ject line BE­TRAYED, the gun own­ers group said,”we’re gear­ing up for war in the 133rd Gen­eral As­sem­bly.”

The Se­nate also added a pro­vi­sion to the bill al­low­ing off-duty law-en­force­ment of­fi­cers to carry a gun into restau­rants, re­tail busi­nesses or sports venues. Sup­port­ers say it would al­low for faster re­sponses to ac­tive-shooter sit­u­a­tions.

Se­nate Democrats un­suc­cess­fully tried to add a “red flag” amend­ment that would al­low law en­force­ment to pe­ti­tion a court to tem­po­rar­ily re­move firearms from a per­son who is con­sid­ered an im­me­di­ate dan­ger to him­self or oth­ers. A frus­trated Ka­sich had sought adop­tion of the law and other gun­safety mea­sures.

Rep. Sarah LaTourette, R-Cha­grin Falls, a prime spon­sor, said it re­mains good leg­is­la­tion.

“They re­moved some of the pro­vi­sions that the House felt very pas­sion­ately about, but they left in one of the most im­por­tant pieces, which is the bur­den shift,” she said.

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