On Jan. 4 Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 175. Many Ohio gun owning citizens have anxiously awaited the passage of this bill as specifically laid out the self-defense law that was ambiguously stated in previous legislation.

The most anticipated piece of this bill was the removal of the phrase “duty to retreat” prior to using self-defense against a person that is illegally in someone’s home. This bill removes that phrase from the legislation.

Duty to retreat was the legal requirement in the previous legislation that stated a threatened person cannot not harm another in self-defense, especially lethal force, when retreating to safety is possible. According to previous legislation a person could not use self-defense if someone was on their property illegally if they were able to retreat to safety - run out of the house/off property or hide in a room.

Not only does this bill include property owners, but for legal gun owners as well. The bill also expands, for gun owners, to use self-defense in areas outside of their private property, to the the public. So long as a gun owner is not an aggressor and feels threatened by the action or actions of another lethal force may be used on that person(s) if it is deemed necessary to protect themselves or their family.

Expanding the legislation is beneficial, but also allows for the legislation to be interpreted much more openly. The controversy comes into the picture because does this new legislation brings the debate: people give a greater opportunity to defend themselves and their families or it allows gun owners to have the ability to use their personal judgement on a situation with reduced accountability for their actions.

The future of how beneficial this legislation is will soon unfold as cases are brought to the Ohio State Supreme Court.

For more information regarding the specific language of the bill please visit legislature.ohio.gov.