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Representative Steve Buehrer has introduced HB541, a bill modeled after Florida’s “stand your ground” legislation.

 If the actions of the media and anti-self defense extremists in Florida are any indication of what will happen here, then we should brace ourselves for a highly negative campaign of disinformation against this victim protection legislation.

 In Florida, a nearly identical bill was passed into law recently. It was immediately labeled as “shoot first” legislation as opponents attempted to deceive citizens and tourists into believing that it allowed any person to attack another for any perceived sleight. They passed out fliers at airports and erected billboards claiming that cutting someone off in traffic or giving a stranger the finger was justifiable cause for them to open fire on you under the new law.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. As of today, the streets are not running red with the blood of innocents being gunned down because of the new provisions. The law simply ensures that you have a right to defend yourself if you are the victim of a violent attack. After Florida’s law was proven to work, South Dakota and Indiana passed similar laws. A myriad of other states, now joined by Ohio, are also considering similar protections for the victims of criminal assaults.

 

A detailed analysis of the some of the provisions of this bill follows.

 

Sec. 2305.62. (A) A person is justified in using force,

except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that

the person using the force reasonably believes that the use of the

force is necessary to defend the person's self or a third person

against the imminent use of unlawful force by the person against

whom the force is used.

 

This first provision simply states that if a person unlawfully attacks you, you are allowed to match force with force and defend yourself.

 

(B) A person who is justified in using force pursuant to

division (A) of this section is justified in the use of deadly

force against the other person and does not have a duty to retreat

if either of the following applies:

 

(1) The person using the deadly force reasonably believes

that the use of the deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent

death or serious physical harm to the person's self or a third

person or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

 

(2) The circumstances described in division (A) or (B) of

section 2305.63 of the Revised Code apply.

 

This section states that you may use deadly force to defend yourself, or another, only if you have reasonable cause to believe that there is about to be serious bodily harm or death caused by the attack. It removes the duty to retreat so that you are no longer required to attempt to get away from your attacker first, as you are now. Having to decide whether you are required to flee before fighting back has been documented to result in higher instances of injury or death than if you simply begin defending yourself immediately after the attack begins.

 

(C) For the purposes of divisions (A) and (B) of this

section, a person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts

to enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is

presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act

involving force or violence.

 

The “home invasion” or “castle doctrine” provision. This section acknowledges that a person who forcefully enters your home is not there to trade recipes and recognizes that, if discovered, the criminal is likely to attack you. Use of force to commit the crime is the key provision; you are not justified in using force on someone you invited in, someone who wandered into your house accidentally, or someone walking across your lawn.

 

Sec. 2305.63. (A)(1) A person is justified in the use of

defensive force against another that is intended or likely to

cause death or serious physical harm to the other person and does

not have a duty to retreat if the person using the defensive force

holds a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious

physical bodily harm to the person's self or a third person.

 

Again, if you are the victim of an attack that is likely to cause death or serious bodily harm, you are justified in repelling that attack with the same level of force.

 

(2) For the purposes of division (A)(1) of this section, a

person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent

peril of death or serious physical harm to the person's self or a

third person when using defensive force that is intended or likely

to cause death or serious physical bodily harm to another if both

of the following apply:

 

This section defines when you can consider yourself to be in danger.

 

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was

in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had

unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or

occupied vehicle, or that person had removed or was attempting to

remove another against the other person's will from a dwelling,

residence, or occupied vehicle.

 

If a person forcefully tries to remove you from your home (kidnapping) or vehicle (carjacking), you do not have to wait to determine if your attacker is simply trying to get you to attend his tea party. Such drastic actions are likely to result in serious bodily harm or death if you do not cause the circumstances to immediately change by defending yourself.

 

(b) The person who uses the defensive force knew or had

reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful

and forcible act of a type described in division (A)(2)(a) of this

section was occurring or had occurred.

 

If you witness a person in a ski mask break your neighbor’s door down and drag their daughter out by the hair, you can reasonable assume that they intend harm.

 

(3) The presumption set forth in division (A)(2) of this

section does not apply in any of the following circumstances:

 

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has

the right to be in, or is a lawful resident of, the dwelling,

residence, or vehicle, and that person is not the subject of a

protection order issued…

 

This section states that you do not have the right to use force against a person who has a right to be in the dwelling or vehicle. This prevents a criminal from attempting to use this law as a defense to actions harming the legal owner or resident.

 

(b) The person sought to be removed by the person against

whom the defensive force was used as described in division

(A)(2)(a) of this section is a child or grandchild, or is

otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship

of, the person against whom the defensive force is used.

 

You cannot use force against a legal guardian attempting to regain custody of their child or grandchild.

 

(c) The person who uses the defensive force is engaged in an

unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied

vehicle to further an unlawful activity.

 

You are not justified in defending yourself if you are in the process of committing a crime. So, a criminal cannot use this clause to claim self defense.

 

(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a

law enforcement officer who is entering or attempting to enter a

dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of the

officer's official duties, and either the officer identified self

as a law enforcement officer in accordance with any applicable

law, or the person using the defensive force knew or reasonably

should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter

the dwelling, residence, or vehicle was a law enforcement officer.

 

If a law enforcement officer identifies himself as such and is acting in accordance with the law, you are not justified in using force to defend yourself.

 

(B) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and

who is attacked in any place where the person has a right to be

has no duty to retreat, has the right to stand the person's ground

and meet force with force, including deadly force, and is

justified in using the force, including deadly force, if the

person reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent

death or great bodily harm to the person's self or a third person

or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

 

This clause succinctly states that you have the right to stand your ground and not be run off by a criminal attack.

 

Sec. 2305.64. (A) A person is justified in the use of force,

except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that

the person using the force reasonably believes that the use of the

force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person's

trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with,

either real property other than a dwelling or personal property

that lawfully is in the person's possession, that lawfully is in

the possession of a third person who is a member of the person's

immediate family or household, or that is property of a third

person whose property the person has a legal duty to protect.

 

This clause states that you only have the right to use non-deadly force to protect property, except in the case of a home invasion where it is automatically inferred that you are protecting yourself or another person.

 

(B) A person who is justified in using force pursuant to

division (A) of this section is justified in the use of deadly

force against the other person only if the person using the deadly

force reasonably believes that the use of the deadly force is

necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

 

If the criminal is about to commit a forcible felony (rape, for example), you are justified in using deadly force if appropriate.

 

(C) For the purposes of divisions (A) and (B) of this

section, a person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is

in a place where the person has a right to be.

 

Again states that you do not have to attempt to retreat first.

 

Sec. 2305.65. (A) A person who uses force, deadly force, or

defensive force as permitted in section 2305.62, 2305.63, or

2305.64 of the Revised Code is justified in using the force,

deadly force, or defensive force and is immune from criminal

prosecution or liability and from liability for injury, death, or

loss to person or property in any civil action that is based on or

related to the use of the force, deadly force, or defensive force,

unless the person against whom the force, deadly force, or

defensive force was used is a law enforcement officer who was

acting in the performance of the officer's official duties, and

the officer identified self in accordance with any applicable law,

or the person using the force, deadly force, or defensive force

knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law

enforcement officer.

 

Unless the person you defended yourself against was a law enforcement officer in the act of carrying out his duties, you are no longer liable for criminal charges or a civil suit for harming or killing you attacker. This will end lawsuits against the victim by the criminal or the criminal’s family for self-defense actions.

 

(C) If a person is sued in a civil action that is based on or

related to the use of force, deadly force, or defensive force

described in division (A) of this section and the court finds that

the immunity provided in division (A) of this section applies to

the person, the court shall award to the person reasonable

attorney's fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and

all expenses incurred by the person in defense of the civil

action.

 

If a criminal or a criminal’s family does file a lawsuit and loses, they are required to pay court costs, attorney’s fees, and any other additional financial harm the suit causes to the victim.

 

Sec. 2305.66. The justifications for the use of force, deadly

force, or defensive force described in sections 2305.62, 2305.63,

2305.64, and 2305.65 of the Revised Code are not available to a

person to whom either of the following applies:

 

(A) The person is attempting to commit, committing, or

escaping after the commission of a forcible felony.

 

Criminals don’t get to use this law to justify their actions.

 

(B) The person initially provokes the use of force against

the person's self, unless either of the following applies:

 

(1) The force directed against the person as a result of the

provocation is so great that the person reasonably believes that

the person is in imminent danger of death or serious physical harm

and that the person has exhausted every reasonable means to escape

that imminent danger other than the use of force that is likely to

cause death or serious physical harm to the assailant.

 

If you start the confrontation, you cannot use this law to justify self-defense unless there is a large disparity of force in the other person’s response. For example, if you start a fistfight with a person and they fight back, you can’t claim self-defense. However, if you insult a person and they attack you with a knife, you may be able to claim self-defense.

 

 

(2) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact

with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that the

person desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the

assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

 

If you started the confrontation, but give up and the other person continues the attack, then you may be justified in defending yourself.

 

Section 3. The General Assembly declares that its intent in

enacting sections 2305.61 to 2305.66 and repealing section 2305.40

of the Revised Code in Sections 1 and 2 of this act is, in part,

to supersede the doctrine of Ohio law developed and affirmed by

the state's courts in numerous decisions, including State v.

Cassano (2002), 96 Ohio St. 3d 94; State v. Thomas (1997), 77 Ohio

St. 3d 323; State v. Williford (1990), 49 Ohio St. 3d 247; State

v. Jackson (1986), 22 Ohio St. 3d 281; State v. Robbins (1979), 58

Ohio St. 2d. 74; Graham v. State (1918), 98 Ohio St. 77; Marts v.

State (1875), 26 Ohio St. 162; Columbus v. Dawson (Franklin

County, 1986), 33 Ohio App. 3d 141; et al., that generally holds

that a person who is outside of the person's place of residence or

business and who is attacked has a duty to retreat before using

deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another.

 

This last section states that it is the intent of the legislature to remove the duty to retreat and nullify future use of existing case law rulings that a person does have a duty to retreat.

 

So, as you can see, this law does nothing to encourage lawlessness and will not result in an increase in murders by people using the new law as justification for their actions. It simply reaffirms that you have the right to live your life free from criminal attack, and that if a criminal tries to deny you that right, then you do not have to attempt to run and hide, but can repel the attack with the same level of force being used against you.

 

This law simply protects victims from their attackers. Why would anyone be opposed to that?

Category: Ohio Legislation

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