The biggest change is easily the “burden shift.” For decades, Ohio has been the only state which required the victim of a deadly force encounter to prove self-defense if charged. The State could seize your property, deny your civil rights, and imprison you without ever proving a thing. No more! This change affects every person and is not limited to firearms.
People who exercise the right of self-defense will no longer be required to waive their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The State now must disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted in self-defense. It is shocking that in this day and age anyone opposed this section of the bill. If this were the only change, it would be a great improvement in Ohio law.
What does NOT change with burden shift:
The standard for use of lethal force remains unchanged. (CAUTION: Many in the media and other groups have made false statements that could lead to criminal convictions if acted upon.)
Lethal force remains a tool of last resort. If there are other options that can be exercised safely, a victim must use those before using deadly force. Those using lethal force will still be expected to articulate that they were honestly and reasonably in fear of immediate and unavoidable death or great bodily harm.
Preemption has been strengthened. As usual, political subdivisions (cities, townships, counties, etc.) must follow state law. This one section of law will not take effect until the end of the year. This gives entities ample time to repeal codes that are in conflict with state law. After this time, individuals and groups will be able to seek remedy through the courts. (Note: The city of Columbus has already filed a lawsuit against the state on this section of the law, RC 9.68.)
Ohio law now mirrors Federal law on the definition of a sawed-off shotgun. The Mossberg Shockwave, Remington Tac-14 and future similarly styled guns will now be legal in Ohio.
There will now be increased penalties for straw purchase of firearms for prohibited persons. This has been federal law for years, but this will now allow state authorities to prosecute crimes where federal cases may be less than forthcoming. It is well known that criminals who can’t buy guns steal them or get others who can pass a background check to buy weapons for them. Local law-enforcement and prosecutors now have tools to prosecute such criminals. (Note: Interestingly the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Chiefs of Police and FOP all opposed this bill. One must wonder whose side they are on.)
Entities that permit concealed carry will no longer be required to post signs saying that firearms are prohibited. This is a clean up from two sessions ago when government entities were given permission to allow firearms, but were still required to post signs. Now the law is simple: If guns are banned, there is a requirement to post a sign. If guns are permitted, there is no requirement to post a sign.
Correctional facilities will have the authority to grant corrections officers the ability to carry firearms in their official capacity if they have approved training.This needs no explanation.
An “establishment serving the public” will not be permitted to prohibit off duty law enforcement officers from carrying firearms in that establishment. The officer must not be intoxicated or consuming beer/alcohol and other restrictions apply.
Overall this is an excellent bill that better protects all law-abiding people in the state of Ohio. It places appropriate burdens on the state and local governments and protects the rights of citizens. It is not just a bill about “guns” but about life and liberty. It is puzzling how any good person could oppose these changes.
Buckeye Firearms Association is proud of the work we have done from idea, through drafting, passage and now enactment of this important legislation. We thank the many legislators and aids who also work to improve our state, and our members/supporters who enable us to continue our missing of protecting and restoring Second Amendment rights.