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Protesters Denounce Ohio’s “Stand Your Ground” Bill
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Thereâ€™s a push to implement a â€œStand Your Groundâ€ self-defense law in Ohio. Itâ€™s a lethal self-defense provision discussed at length after the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
But some local leaders fear the proposal would only increase violence in Ohio.
Several rallies were held around the Statehouse Wednesday. The issue at the center of the protests was a bill that would create â€œStand Your Groundâ€ laws in Ohio.
This means a person would no longer be required to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. Protesters at a rally held by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus believe the provision would lead to increased violence combined with racial profiling.
Stanley Miller, former leader of the Cleveland NAACP says thereâ€™s a constant push for pro-gun policies that hinge on the words of the Second Amendment. Miller read the amendment out loud to the crowd then broke down its details.
“Twenty-seven words, three commas, and one period. And that one sentence has been misused and interpreted so many different ways that most people never really knew what it stood for,” Miller says.
“And currently has resulted in more legislation and more action than any other 27 words in any document our country has.â€
Leaders of the rally repeatedly brought up the death of Trayvon Martin, a teenager shot and killed in Florida. Caucus President Alicia Reece, a Democrat from Cincinnati, says the Stand Your Ground law in that state led to Martinâ€™s death and she doesnâ€™t want to inject that kind of fear in Ohio.
“This is a human interest of folks who are very much afraid of this type of law taking place and what does it mean to their young person. Will they wear the right clothes, is that against the law? Will they walk on the wrong street and get killed, or is that against the law? And so people are really afraid that this will turn into a Wild Wild West type of environment in the state of Ohio.â€
Sean Maloney is a leader with the Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun-rights advocacy group. He says liberal activists are the first ones who brought up Floridaâ€™s Stand Your Ground laws and it was never actually used in the prosecution of George Zimmerman, the man acquitted of Trayvon Martinâ€™s death.
Maloney says adding a Stand Your Ground law wouldnâ€™t change much in the state of Ohio but urges that itâ€™s still necessary.
â€œI feel thatâ€”if I reasonably believe that Iâ€™m in fear of deathâ€”it should stop there. My decision making process should stop there and I should have the abilityâ€”faced with deathâ€”to immediately protect myself, my family members, or whoever else is nearby.â€
Maloney says a person facing a deadly situation doesnâ€™t have time to think about which laws would apply to their dilemma.
â€œNo theyâ€™re not going toâ€”absolutely notâ€”I think that analysis takes place after the fact because we already know that in a defensive gun-use situation or when weâ€™re fighting for our life we have a rush of adrenalineâ€”we have tunnel visionâ€”hearing depravationâ€”thereâ€™s so much physically going on that we donâ€™t even remember whatâ€™s happened shortly before, during, or even after until days later.”
But to the protesters, this provision represents a much larger problem with gun policies in Ohio and around the country. Representative Reece says the General Assembly is out of touch with the majority of Ohio and the push for a Stand Your Ground law is just the latest example.
Two other anti-gun rallies were held throughout the day with a group of pro-gun advocates also gathering at the Statehouse.
As for the bill, the House has yet to schedule it for a second hearing.