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Koehler Gives Sponsor Testimony on House Bill 796

Legislation Would Update Ohio's Duty to Retreat Laws
December 3, 2020
J. Kyle Koehler News

COLUMBUS – State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) today gave sponsor testimony in the House Civil Justice Committee on House Bill 796, legislation that would extend the rights of law abiding citizens to defend themselves anywhere they are legally allowed to be, as long as they are not involved in any unlawful activity and are not the original aggressor. 

Ohio’s current law establishes the “Castle Doctrine”, which states there is no duty to retreat before using force if a person is lawfully within their residence, vehicle or a vehicle owned by an immediate family member. Koehler’s proposed legislation would extend the laws within the Castle Doctrine to any place a person is lawfully allowed to be.

“House Bill 796 does not change the fact that a person much, without fault of his or her own, honestly believe that deadly force was necessary to prevent serious bodily harm to death,” said Koehler.

House Bill 796 would remove the reference to vehicle in the Castle Doctrine and replace it with the following language: “if that person is in a place in which the person lawfully has the right to be.”

Additionally, the legislation clarified how this will apply in court by adding the following language: “A trier of fact shall not consider the possibility of retreat as a factor in determining whether or not a person who used force in self-defense, defense of another or defense of that person's residence reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent injury, loss or risk to life or safety”.

Koehler concluded, “My right to defend myself from serious bodily harm or death does not change just because I am outside the walls of my home. My right to defend myself from serious bodily harm or death does not change if I am inside or outside my car. My right to defend myself from serious bodily harm or death should be extended to anywhere I am lawfully allowed to be.”

House Bill 796 will continue to have hearings in the House Civil Justice Committee.


State Representative Kyle Koehler is serving his third term in the Ohio House. He represents the 79thDistrict, which includes portions of Clark County.

For more information, contact Rep Koehler’s office at (614) 466-2038 or