Protecting Second Amendment Rights In Ohio
By Rep. Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton)
January 17, 2014
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In the course of public debate, there are several different topics that come before the legislature requiring action. One of the most important issues, undoubtedly, is the restoration and strengthening of Ohio’s economy.

On that front, the Dayton area received great news last week with the announcement that the Chinese company Fuyao Glass Industry Group would be building its first North American automotive glass manufacturing facility in the region, creating 800 jobs in the process. This is but one example of a business deciding to set up shop inside our borders. In fact, the Secretary of State’s office indicated that 2013 saw more businesses created in Ohio since it became a state.

The economy will continue to be our primary focus. But I know that, like me, many people in the 51st House District also take very seriously other issues, such as gun rights.

House Bill 203, sponsored by State Representative Terry Johnson from southern Ohio, makes some very important changes to our state’s gun laws. Perhaps most notably is a policy that expands the rights under Ohio’s current “castle doctrine,” which says that Ohioans have the right to use deadly force in their homes or vehicles if they feel that their lives are in imminent danger.

If HB 203 is signed into law, those rights would be extended to include any place where a person is allowed to carry a firearm. The burden of proof is on the person pulling the trigger to prove that his or her life was in danger.

In many cases, mental illness plays a major part in gun-related tragedies. One issue prevalent in Ohio that can lead to this is drug addiction. This bill strengthens some restrictions that will keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. For example, it prohibits a person with a fifth-degree felony drug offense from getting a concealed carry license. If a person is convicted of multiple fifth-degree drug felonies, he or she is permanently prohibited from obtaining a license. Additionally, people convicted of domestic violence charges are disqualified from getting a license.

Preserving our constitutionally protected gun rights and finding common-sense approaches to keeping Ohioans safe is a very important priority for me, and I believe House Bill 203 will benefit our state.

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