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Ohio is the only state where a person claiming self defense is considered guilty until they’re proven innocent. Unlike the other 49, Ohio requires that a person who shoots an attacker in self defense must prove that they’ve acted reasonably. Arizona had law for a few years, but it was repealed because of the infamous case of Harold Fish, who spent three years in prison for second degree murder. Janet Napolitano, then Governor of Arizona, vetoed two bills designed to give Harold Fish a new trial. After Napolitano was recruited by the Obama administration, another bill was passed and Fish was released. But back to Ohio . . .

It looks like some needed reforms there are finally moving in the Ohio Senate. HB 203 – which would eliminate the ‘duty to retreat’ among other reforms -first passed the Ohio House 63-27 in November of 2013. But it has languished in the Senate since then. Some claim that Governor Kasich has said that he will sign the bill. First it needs to pass the Senate.

The law also clarifies that the exercise of a constitutional right is not disorderly conduct, so the mere carrying of a firearm would not, in and of itself, be cause for police to harass or arrest the carrier. “Disorderly conduct” has been a catchall charge used to harass open carriers in several states. Ohio is following a trend started in Wisconsin and Utah to insure that the exercise of constitutional rights is protected.

The laws now moving in Ohio consist of common sense reforms, many of which are long overdue. That’s why it passed the House with such overwhelming numbers. Now we will find out if the Republican Senate leadership will let it come to a vote.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. I am glad to see this getting some play on TTAG. The failure of the Ohio Senate to take up the bill has been under-reported and is perplexing given both the strong Republican majority in that body and the momentum in Ohio towards greater support for 2A rights.

    It is noteworthy that HB 203 will die if not passed by the senate by the end of the year.

    Props to Buckeye Firearms Association for their support of all things pro 2A in general and HB 203 specifically.

  2. Thank you Dean.

    Its important for all of us POTG to spread the word that “common-sense” IS winning vs the tyrrany of the State, and executive actions of the progtards, despite big money spent on sock-puppets, misleading PR, and deceptive enablers in the press.

    Wise leaders across the country, state by state, are following both constitutional law, and the will of the majority of American citizens, to be able to defend oneself both in the home, and outside, with a firearm.

    • Ohio has castle doctrine, but current law requires a duty to retreat outside the home/personal vehicle. I’m more interested in the bills reduction to chl training requirements.

  3. Did you just Quote Mad Mommies?

    “The laws now moving in Ohio consist of common sense reforms, many of which are long overdue.”

  4. I hope so! One of the most important parts of the bill is the change to reciprocity:

    Sec. 109.69. (A) The attorney general shall determine if 70
    another state automatically, without written agreement, recognizes 71
    a concealed handgun license issued under section 2923.125 or 72
    2923.1213 of the Revised Code. If the attorney general determines 73
    that another state automatically, without written agreement, 74
    recognizes a concealed carry license issued under either of those 75
    sections, all of the following apply: 76

    (1) The attorney general shall publish that determination in 77
    the same manner that written agreements entered into under 78
    division (B)(1) or (2) of this section are published. 79

    (2) That determination shall have the same force and effect 80
    as a written agreement entered into under division (B)(1) or (2) 81
    of this section. 82

    (3) The concealed handgun license issued by the other state 83
    shall be accepted and is valid in this state in the same manner as 84
    if a written agreement between this state and the other state 85
    existed under division (B)(1) or (2) of this section.

    Basically: Ohio will grant reciprocity to any state that accepts Ohio’s CCW.

    My Indiana LTCH will become valid in Ohio when this happens.

    • One wonders what happens when State A says “We’ll accept any state’s permit that accepts ours” and State B says the same thing. Neither one of them has explicitly agreed to honor the other state’s permit, which would certainly trigger reciprocity in the other direction (in other words, State A hasn’t said “We recognize B’s permit” which would cause B to say…”Well in that case, we recognize A’s permit”). Do we then have a situation where the two states both say “we won’t recognize the other state’s permit because they won’t recognize ours?” because each is waiting for the other to go first?

      • I ask, of course, because Colorado has this language in its rules as well (you also have to be 21 or older and be a resident of the state that issued the permit).

      • IANAL, but i’m pretty sure that the text I quoted addresses that specific scenario, explicitly. It bases reciprocity on the policy of the other state.

        And Indiana’s policy is to accept every state’s CCW permit.

        • Um no it doesn’t.

          Or if it does, it says the answer to my scenario is “no.” (The scenario I outlined is not analogous to the Indiana-Ohio situation, so I don’t know why you reiterated that situation.)

          State B doesn’t accept State A’s permit, because State A doesn’t accept B’s permit, because B doesn’t accept A’s.

      • That’s interesting, and funny, in a potentially disatrous way.

        A lot of states’ reciprocity agreements don’t necessarily rely on the other state accepting their own permits, though. Rather, they’ll accept other states’ permits whose requirements are at least as stringent as their own. In that way, a state needn’t specifically agree to accept another state’s permit.

        Now, such states do still publish lists (sometimes removing states, as Nevada recently did with LA and, I think, WV permits) of states whose permits qualify for recognition, but the underlying issue is comparability of qualifications.

  5. Oh, I hope they pass this reciprocity law ! As it stands, when I visit this state I grew up in, I must stop in KY, doff and store my EDC in an Ohio-compliant manner, and drive the last two hours disarmed.
    Darned inconvenient and dangerous.

    • Whereas I, a resident of Tennessee, and never having set foot in Ohio, can tootle merrily from Nashville to Cleveland with my weapon on my hip.

      • Exactly Rick. Because AL refuses to become a true “Shall issue” state like TN (Go Vols, my alma mater). The sheriffs are afraid if we require classes and qualification, then the Highway Patrol will get the license proceeds instead of them.

  6. Any hope of getting rid of the asinine rule against having your gun on your hip (openly) while in your car? Everywhere else in the state but your own car, you can carry openly if you want (or if your CCW permit is no good there).

  7. Being an indiana resident with child living in Ohio I hope this passes quickly. I will gladly stop saying we are leaving a free state and enter an subject state crossing into Ohio. A saying my family repeats back to me now after many trips.

    • I currently live in Illinois. Every time that I cross into Indiana with the family, I say, “That feeling you just had, it’s called ‘freedom.'” My wife has almost stopped rolling her eyes each time.

  8. Harold Fish defended himself with a 10mm. I will save this in my bookmark. If he used a .41 or a .44, they would of called for death penalty. Janet Nap head was involved. I will continue to carry my 10mm and I train and certified with such pistol.

  9. Ohio requires that a person who shoots an attacker in self defense must prove that they’ve acted reasonably.

    So you want to change the law to allow unreasonable shootings?

    • So you want to change the law to allow unreasonable shootings?

      No. The change in the law will be to conform to the standard in the other 49 states, that the burden of proof lies with the State, to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, rather than placing the burden of proof on the accused to prove, with a preponderance of the evidence, the self-defense claim.

      • I think he was being sarcastic. Or rather, I hope he was. Kinda like the phrase “common sense” thrown around.

  10. One bad part of the proposed legislation is that the background check would henceforth include a NICS. If, let’s say, a veteran had been screwed by the Veteran’s Administration through a report to the database, then they would then not be able to get their Ohio CHL. Additionally, persons who have only purchased through private party because they believe that the government might be lying about databasing NICS data, won’t likely apply for an Ohio CHL because of the check. I know quite a few Ohioans who haven’t and won’t submit to NICS. IMHO, the NICS part ought not be in the proposed legislation.

    Sec. 2923.125. It is the intent of the general assembly that Ohio concealed handgun license law be compliant with the national instant criminal background check system, that the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives is able to determine that Ohio law is compliant with the national instant criminal background check system, and that no person shall be eligible to receive a concealed handgun license permit under section 2923.125 or 2923.1213 of the Revised Code unless the person is eligible lawfully to receive or possess a firearm in the United States.

  11. There’s a bigger problem with this law: in an effort to get the NICS-complaint CHL it inadvertently removes the gun-owning rights of all Ohioans who’ve had their rights restored, and they’ll immediately be guilty of being a felon in possession if this law passes as-is. This isn’t just about violent felons, but crimes like telecommunications fraud or trademark counterfeiting.

    One problem is that Ohio has 2 prominent gun-rights groups, and they don’t play well together. Buckeye Firearms is pushing for this law and have shown no interest in modifying it to address this concern.

    • This isn’t just about violent felons, but crimes like telecommunications fraud or trademark counterfeiting

      Newsflash (for anyone who needs to know this), THIS is the problem with restrictions on “felons” owning guns.

      Too many non-violent acts, and even non-violent acts that hurt no one, are felonies now.

  12. Can we get rid of that 30-round mag cap BS too? And legalize bottlenecked rifles (of at .25″ caliber, of course) for next year’s durr season while we’re at it?

  13. “Ohio is the only state where a person claiming self defense is considered guilty until they’re proven innocent.”

    And unfortunately this bill won’t change that. Preponderance of evidence will still be required in self defence cases.

    Fortunately for some of us, based on what I have seen in the part of the state I am in, the prosecutors in the more rural areas are fairly understanding and won’t bring charges unless there is glaring evidence that contradicts your version of events. Prosecutors in places like Columbus and Cleveland though are likely less understanding though.

  14. Should be a slam-dunk.

    The presumption of innocence and disability only after due process of law are constitutionally guaranteed. The burden is constitutionally on the government, not the defendant.

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