'Stand Your Ground' bill enters tough debate in the Ohio Senate

There was a hearing for opponents of Senate Bill 180 Tuesday. Supporters previously had a hearing of their own. (WSYX/WTTE)

Opponents of a controversial gun bill sounded off Tuesday during a hearing at the Ohio Statehouse. Senators debated a “Stand Your Ground” bill that could change the way people can use force and claim self-defense.

There was a hearing for opponents of Senate Bill 180 Tuesday. Supporters previously had a hearing of their own.

The bill would expand when someone could claim self-defense. Prosecutors testifying against the bill said there’s already a high burden of proof to show someone isn’t acting in self-defense. They said it’s a high standard that covers the vast majority of people who aren’t breaking the law. The bill would also get rid of the requirement people leave and de-escalate a situation in public, or “stand their ground”.

A large part of the audience for the Senate Judiciary Committee was made up of moms with the group Everytown for Gun Safety. Some of them said they wanted to show up in force because they feared the bill would lead to more violence if more people “stand their ground” instead of leave a potentially violent situation.

"It's crazy,” said Nancy Phillips with Everytown. “’Stand Your Ground’ has caused more deaths and more injuries in every state that has it and Ohio doesn't need that. We are going to be out in force until it changes. We are just not backing off. We can't."

Supporters of the bill have said they don’t want the law to dictate whether they can defend themselves or must leave a situation. They also want to raise the burden of proof for prosecutors to prove someone wasn’t acting in self-defense.

No vote was taken in the Senate committee Tuesday on the bill.

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