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Rep. Brown calls for repeal of Ohio's "shoot first" law

Says no duty to retreat will make deadly confrontations more common
April 7, 2021
Richard D. Brown News

COLUMBUS—State Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) today called on Statehouse leaders to repeal Ohio’s new no duty to retreat law, which passed in December 2020. Democratic-sponsored legislation, House Bill (HB) 38, would repeal the new shoot first law that took effect Tuesday, April 6. 

“Time and again, the factual evidence demonstrates that “Shoot First” laws do the opposite of what proponents claim they do, and make people less safe and more likely to be the victims of gun violence,” said Rep. Brown. “Furthermore, it is clear that laws like these pose a disproportionate threat to people of color and increase the likelihood of racialized violence. As legislators, we should be working to make Ohio law more equitable, not less.”

HB 38 would repeal the recently passed Shoot First law that permits the use of deadly force by individuals who believe their lives are endangered anywhere in the state. The measure was added as a last-minute amendment to Senate Bill (SB) 175 in December 2o2o, and the governor signed the bill into law even after suggesting he would veto the extreme legislation. 

A recent report found that shoot first laws may have led to an increase in total homicides and firearm homicides in states which have enacted them. 

During discussion of the bill on the House floor in late December, multiple Democratic lawmakers argued that the new law will disproportionately affect Black Ohioans and other communities of color. In the 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a similar law on the books in Florida was invoked because the shooter claimed self-defense.

No hearings have been scheduled on HB 38 to date.