Members of the Ohio General Assembly stood firm in their fight to protect the rights of Ohioans to use firearms to protect themselves. That dedication to the rights of everyday citizens won praise from the Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA).
And while we can chalk up a point for our Second Amendment rights in the Buckeye State, those who want to exercise their constitutional rights know the fight is not over.
At question was House Bill (H.B.) 228 that, among other things, contained a provision related to the Castle Doctrine, granting law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves and others without fear of being prosecuted.
Then-Gov. John Kasich went out of his way not only to veto the bill, but to introduce less-than-savory amendments—and he waited until the last minute to reject the bill, no doubt hoping that lawmakers would rather spend time with their families than to worry about an override.
But the legislators got the last word, coming back during the recess and convincingly beating the veto with a House vote of 67-22 and a Senate vote of 21-11.
“The key with H.B. 228 was that it shifted the burden of proof to the prosecution,” BFA Executive Director Dean Rieck said.
The news wasn’t 100 percent favorable. In overriding the veto, lawmakers had to remove some provisions and had to keep the “duty to retreat” in the bill. Rieck said the new governor and Legislature will undoubtedly have to deal with the “duty to retreat” matter soon. Still, gun owners in Ohio will enjoy “innocent until proven guilty” protection, a stronger preemption law and other broader rights.
It was an uphill battle not simply because an override is generally a challenge, but because anti-gun groups like Moms Demand Action spent millions trying to water down the bill—and they did win in terms of defeating the push for a true Stand Your Ground option.
“In the end, gun owners won and did so without big power or big money to back them up,” Rieck said.
The Ohio case is another piece of evidence that grassroots efforts—a cornerstone of the NRA’s strategy—can work. But, as Rieck acknowledged, the fight to protect our Second Amendment right never ends.