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

Says no duty to retreat will make deadly confrontations more common
April 6, 2021
Joseph A. Miller III News

State Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) 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. 

“As a gun owner and supporter of our second amendment myself, I firmly believe that when citizens carry their weapons in public, they agree to do so responsibly. This means that you do not shoot first if you feel your rights are infringed. Duty to retreat as a first option should be the expectation, and prior to this law, it did not prevent the use of lethal force to defend oneself. Now is not the time to further replace fair and just punishment under the law with a ‘Wild West’ mentality. This is dangerous and has us moving in the wrong direction, which is why I will be co-sponsoring a repeal of this deadly law,” said Rep. Miller.

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.