State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) 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 takes effect Tuesday.
“I have spent a number of years talking to Ohioans about harmful Republican policies that increase violence. Enough is enough. It was wrong for the governor to sign the ‘kill at will’ bill, which removed the duty to retreat safely. For that reason and many others, I have signed onto support HB 38. Ohio families want to actually live the Ohio promise and they want their friends and family members to do the same. Laws which cause more death and more violence take away that promise,” said Rep. Galonski.
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.
Ohio’s no duty to retreat law takes effect April 6. No hearings have been scheduled on HB 38 to date.