Coalition of Advocacy Organizations Calls on Ohio State Legislators to Reject Stand Your Ground Bill

Columbus, Ohio, September 30, 2020 - Today, the #StandWithOhio coalition, made up of national and Ohio-based GVP and social justice groups, are mobilizing grassroots supporters to drive messages to Governor DeWine, House Speaker Cupp, and the legislature to reject HB 381/ SB 237, a ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill.

HB 381/ SB 237 would remove the responsibility from individuals acting in self-defense in public to respond to perceived threats in public spaces peacefully, removing a ‘duty to retreat.’ Since 2015, more than 8,500 people have been killed by gun violence in Ohio. Ohioans want peace and conflict resolution, not escalation.

This bill is a clear threat to public safety and laws like this have been used time and time again to justify racially motivated killings. The legislature must reject it and Gov. DeWine must commit to vetoing it, if they fail to do so.

The #StandWithOhio Coalition shared:

“A little over a year since the mass shooting in Dayton that killed nine people, it is unthinkable that lawmakers in Ohio would put forward a proposal that could create more gun violence in the state, but that is just what they have done. Instead of putting forward proposals that reduce violence and calm conflict, legislators have pushed this extremist, gun lobby-backed bill that is a clear threat to public safety and mirrors laws in other states that have been proven to justify racially motivated killings.

‘Stand Your Ground’ laws perpetuate a dangerous ‘shoot first’ mentality that disproportionately impacts people of color and does not decrease violence. In fact, research has shown that in states with Stand Your Ground laws, firearm homicide rates have increased by 32 percent. The legislature must reject this proposal. A law that increases violence and can be used to worsen racially-motivated killings is not what any Ohioan wants, nor is it the type of policy that any legislator wants history to remember them for. We call on the Ohio House of Representatives, Senate, and Gov. DeWine to reject this bill without delay.”

#StandWithOhio Coalition Members Include:

  1. Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
  2. States United to Prevent Gun Violence
  3. Amnesty International USA
  4. The Brady Campaign and Brady Ohio
  5. Community Justice Action Fund (CJAF)
  6. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV)
  7. Giffords
  8. March For Our Lives Ohio

About Stand Your Ground Laws:

Beginning with Florida in 2005, a number of states enacted Stand Your Ground laws which fundamentally altered the law of self-defense. Traditionally, the law of self-defense put a premium on protecting life; the law imposed on private citizens a duty to try, if possible, to retreat from a dangerous confrontation prior to deploying lethal force in self-defense (with a narrow exception for confrontations occurring in their homes under the ‘castle doctrine’). Stand Your Ground laws limit this duty to retreat even in contexts outside of the home.

Stand Your Ground laws threaten everyone’s safety, particularly Black Americans. These laws embolden racially-motivated vigilantism, undermine public safety, and encourage individuals to believe that, even if they could avoid a lethal confrontation, they can kill someone and later claim self-defense to avoid being held responsible.

Fast Facts About Stand Your Ground Laws:

  • The American Medical Association found that FL’s implementation of its Stand Your Ground law led to a 24.4% increase in homicides overall and a 32% increase in firearm-related homicides specifically.
  • The American Bar Association found that interracial homicides spiked in the states that had Stand Your Ground laws.
  • A study of data from 23 states with Stand Your Ground laws found that white homicide defendants with Black victims were 12 times more likely to have Stand Your Ground ruled in their favor than Black defendants whose victims were white.

About HB381/ SB 237, Ohio’s Proposed Stand Your Ground Law:

HB381/ SB 237 would remove the responsibility to even consider de-escalating or walking away before using a firearm to shoot and kill in public places, creating a clear avenue for misunderstandings, arguments, or other confrontations to turn deadly.


Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.

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