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Ohio Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action: Anything Less Than a Veto on Stand Your Ground is an Abdication of Duty

December 18, 2020

The Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, the grassroots networks of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statements calling on Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to veto the Stand Your Ground legislation that passed the State Legislature today. Stand Your Ground would upend current Ohio self-defense law by allowing a person to shoot to kill another person in public even when they can clearly and safely walk away from the danger. 

“Lawmakers passed Stand Your Ground in the middle of the night knowing that it would increase gun violence — knowing that everyone from mayors and chiefs of police to parents, civil rights advocates, and prosecutors oppose it. It’s now up to Governor DeWine to stand up for public safety and veto this bill — anything less is an abdication of duty to the people he is sworn to protect,” said Mitchell Pinsky, a junior at The Ohio State University and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “People in Ohio are exhausted and traumatized from what feels like never-ending gun violence, and we are sick and tired of leadership that keeps taking our state backwards.”

“Ohioans have been crystal clear, we don’t want to live in a state with Stand Your Ground. Governor DeWine: this is your chance to do something — veto Stand Your Ground,” said Lisa Voigt, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Stand Your Ground is not only dangerous, it’s also unnecessary — Ohio self-defense law already protects people in imminent danger with no other option. Stand Your Ground is about protecting vigilantes and people who would rather shoot than walk away from an argument and would put more lives — especially Black lives — at further risk of gun violence.”

Following a press conference in which Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton Chief of Police Richard Biehl, and gun safety advocates called for Governor DeWine to veto Stand Your Ground, the Governor signaled to the Columbus Dispatch that “he could veto Senate Bill 383 if the so-called stand-your-ground measure…. reaches his desk.”

Moms Demand Action and gun sense supporters in Ohio made over 650 calls and sent over 1,200 emails to lawmakers during the lame duck session alone asking them to oppose Stand Your Ground and other efforts to weaken Ohio’s gun laws. Additionally, over 550 Ohioans submitted testimony in opposition to the bills, Ohio mayors penned an Op-Ed voicing their opposition, and police chiefs from across the state wrote a letter urging lawmakers not to pass Stand Your Ground or SB 317, a bill to strip training requirements for teachers and staff carrying guns at school.

Stand Your Ground laws are associated with an increase in firearm homicides and injuries and do not deter crime. At least 30 people nationwide are killed each month as a result of Stand Your Ground laws. Stand Your Ground laws also disproportionately impact communities of color. The policy is known for helping white shooters avoid criminal prosecution and putting Black people at further risk of gun violence. When white shooters kill Black victims, the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable 11 times more frequently than when the shooter is Black and the victim is white.

More information about the risks of Stand Your Ground policies are available here. Statistics about gun violence in Ohio are available here, and information on how Ohio’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.

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