I reported yesterday on a statement from Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters that he wouldn’t have charged George Zimmerman, even though the evidence in the case would lead to a much simpler prosecution under Ohio law. Maybe Deters was just prescient about proposed changes in Ohio.

Ohio Republicans have introduced HB 203, which would bring Stand Your Ground to Ohio.

It would change Ohio’s self-defense laws to read:

a person has no duty to retreat before using force in self-defense… if that person is in a place that the person lawfully has a right to be.

Compare that to Florida’s language:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force…

Like a dog who does his business behind the couch to avoid getting caught, Ohio Republicans adopt the entirety of Stand Your Ground with the exception of the words “stand your ground”.

Most of HB 203 focuses on making it easier to get a concealed carry permit in Ohio, by removing minimum training requirements (Sec. 2923.125.G.1) and making it easier for people charged with narcotics possession (!) and people against whom there is a restraining order (!!!!!!) to get concealed carry licenses (Sec. 2923.125.D.1.d-j)1. It also exempts white collar criminals (Sec. 2923.11.P.1), presumably so that Rep. Beck can keep his permit2.

It also allows residents of other states to apply for an Ohio CCW permit and may require Ohio to honor CCW permits from states with less-strict CCW permitting requirements, to the degree that there would be any states left with looser regulations.

Bizarrely, it also changes Sec. 2917.31.B.2 to exempt “the exercise of a constitutional or statutory right” from charges of inciting a panic. I’m interpreting this as “Yosemite Sam’s Law” to allow people to openly carry guns in crowded places, though it may have some other meaning3.

The most shocking aspect of HB 203 is that it was introduced over a month ago! Yet it has somehow avoided coverage. The Enquirer doesn’t seem to have reported on it at all, even though half of the co-sponsors are from Cincinnati.

This is frankly unconscionable. Cincinnati is barely a decade removed from riots stemming from a demonstrated pattern of excessive force from police. Ever the market ideologues, Cincinnati’s exurban commando Republicans now want to privatize the use of excessive force.


1 This section is screaming for a closer look by somebody with a stronger background in these areas. This language could be clarifying procedure rather than exempting certain cases.

2 Not joking here. I think Rep. Beck has written a law so that he personally can keep his CCW permit.

3 I like to think of this as “exercising the right to privacy”. I wanted to be alone, so I fired a gun to clear out the room.