"Stand your Ground" passes Ohio House, moves to Senate

COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - Ohio House Bill 203, known commonly as the "Stand Your Ground" law, passed the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 63-27, and now heads to the Senate.

Ohio State Representative Terry Johnson introduced the bill back in June that could make sweeping changes in Ohio gun laws if passed.

The bill will establish and strengthen "stand your ground" laws, that say a person has no duty to retreat before using force in self-defense, defense of another person, or defense of their residency.

Under current law, you may only "stand your ground" when in your home, car, or family member's car.

The law comes on the heel of the very controversial Zimmerman trial, who cited Florida's Stand Your Ground laws to prove self-defense after fatally shooting Trayvon Martin following a physical fight.

In addition to changes in "stand your ground", the bill also makes some changes in the way Ohioans and future residents will obtain Concealed Carry permits. Ohio will recognize other states concealed handgun licenses without a written reciprocity agreement, so long as that state will do the same.

Also, it revises the minimum hours requirement for competency classes. Previous law mandated 12 hours, with two hours live shooting at a range. The new law has a four hour class to apply for a license. In addition, former military members do not have to take the class at all.

On the other side, the bill strengthens the background checks required to get a permit, using the National Instant Check System (NICS) to help prevent people with disqualifying mental health issues from obtaining a permit.

Overall, it takes Ohio laws on background checks to better align with federal laws.

Supporters of the bill, including the NRA and the Buckeye Firearms Association say the bill is a collection of common sense reforms, and helps law abiding citizens better protect themselves.

Opponents are saying that the bill makes it too easy to shoot someone. Multiple city councils in Ohio, including South Euclid and Youngstown have made public statements against the bill.

Should the bill pass the House, it would then be passed on to the state Senate for a vote.