COLUMBUS, OH (AP/FOX19) - The Ohio House has approved a measure making broad changes to the state's gun laws, including the addition of a "stand your ground" self-defense rule that has sparked debates on gun control across the country.
The measure passed 62-27 Wednesday amid protests from anti-gun groups, black legislators and others.
The bill eliminates the duty to retreat in any place in which the person is lawfully allowed to be and makes concealed-carry licenses in Ohio and certain other states valid across state lines.
Republican Rep. Terry Johnson said the bill brings reasonable safety protections to Ohioans.
Democrats predicted it would foster violence. State Rep. Alicia Reece says opponents have jammed Republican Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-sik) phone lines with calls to take their side.
Ohio House Bill 203 could make sweeping changes to some of the state's gun laws. Some of the changes don't have many seeing eye-to-eye.
"The way the law is written now, there's a lot of restrictions put on the law-abiding citizen when they need to defend themselves out in public," said Andrew Chenevey, who works at Target World.
With the bill's passage through the state house, it eases what some supporters, like Chenevey, call a burden. That burden is the duty to retreat. This law proposes using force for defense have no duty to retreat if they're lawfully in that location.
"There's going to be a lot of people acting out. People who would ordinarily let something go are not going to let it go any longer because they fell that all they have to do is say, 'I thought he was going to," said Peterson Mingo of the Christ Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church.
Mingo isn't alone.
The idea of expanding this law doesn't sit well with those fighting to protect our neighborhoods.
"I believe that 'stand your ground' should be 'stand your peace.' I just don't like people having a built-in excuse for the extension of violence," said Chief Jeffrey Blackwell of the Cincinnati Police Department.
But, at places like Target World, customers are coming in daily looking for a way to protect themselves. That's why supporters of this legislation are happy to hear retreating before using force for defense could soon be a thing of the past.
"It's just going to make it easier for us, and cover us trying to go about our daily lives, and if something bad does happen, we're not the ones to blame for it. We were just there trying to defend ourselves, or our family," Chenevey told FOX19.
The bill now awaits a vote in the Ohio state Senate.