30 January 2008

Report On SB184 In Ohio Senate (No Duty To Retreat/Castle Doctrine)

Updated: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008, 10:49 pm -- Here is a report from the hearing by Buckeye Firearms Association. The eloquent Linda Walker, a BFA leader, penned the following: "Wednesday was another great day for pro-gun, pro-self-defense, and good people of Ohio. SB184, known as Castle Doctrine, received a third hearing and the anti-gun, anti-self defense, anti-crime victim social do-gooders had their say. While anyone would have a hard time explaining and defending their view of the world, the people they choose looked more inept than ever."

From my telephone conversation last night with Linda after the hearing, I think her words are an understatement. Nice catch, too, that Jeremy Burnside isn't just a rep for the Ohio Association for Justice (formerly the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers), but actually has an incredible bias he did not disclose to the committee. Gotta love the internet for research!

Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008, 9:14 pm -- Observers at the Senate hearing tell me that Ms. Hoover, in her testimony, was complaining that with CCW, Ohioans for the past four years have been walking around with loaded guns. No kidding!? Now, if SB184 passes, she alleged in testimony that law abiding citizens would have the right to be judge, jury and executioner if confronted. Said one observer in a telephone call to me tonight, "I couldn't believe it. She was shilling for violent criminals!"

Members of the Ohio Senate Committee on the Judiciary - Criminal heard both proponent and opponent testimony on Senate Bill 184 today, a bill that would provide civil immunity to an individual who uses force to defend themselves against a violent attack.

Among those testifying: Randy Van Fossan, chairman of Peoples Rights Organization (his testimony may be found here); a trial lawyer, Jeremy Burnside (opponent of the bill) who maintained that everyone deserves their day in court (even violent criminals suing crime victims who shot the criminal in self defense); Toby Hoover (opponent of the bill), executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence ; and a representative from Ohioans for Concealed Carry (proponent of the bill).

Also, David Johnson from Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association testified in favor of the legislation.
As soon as I have copies of their testimony, I will post them to this site. I had to leave the hearing early, actually BEFORE testimony on SB184 began. Senators got bogged down with discussion on other bills regarding stalking and mandatory prison sentences.

My contacts in the room with whom I have spoken since the hearing took place say Ms. Hoover took a good grilling from several of the senators, among them Sen. Steve Stivers, Sen. Tim Grendell, and Sen. Lance Mason. One of the questions being, and I am paraphrasing here, "You mean to tell us I have to retreat in my own house?" Another question, "You mean criminals have more rights than I do?" Allegedly, she did her best to dodge some of the obvious answers she did not want to give. Mr. Burnside also was grilled heavily by members of the panel, who took exception to his "nine scenarios" that could occur if Ohioans are granted civil immunity for using force to defend themselves.

Another senator, whose name escapes me, noted Ms. Hoover's "irrational fears" when she predicted blood in the streets and the Wild Wild West if CCW legislation passed, asked if she had evidence there would be carnage if SB184 passes. She dodged the question.

Also, it was noted that the Fraternal Order of Police has come out formally in opposition to the bill. People, the FOP needs to remember it is a police benefits bargaining union, and needs to quit trying to derail the rights of private citizens -- or in this case -- quit trying to prevent average citizens from getting back some rights they are currently denied. Plus, this bill has no impact on police. With all due respect to the many law enforcement officers who read The Ready Line, and the many LEOs who are my close friends (and whom I go out of my way to support), police carry sidearms, their leadership admit they can't be everywhere to protect everyone, and if I die because the police didn't get their in time, they are immune from prosecution.

If a police officer is on the scene where I am being attacked, however, doesn't it make sense that pretty much any situation should be taken care of by the LEO and I would have no need to draw a firearm. Right? So what logical reason can the FOP possibly have to oppose this bill, other than to keep its name in the news?

County prosecutors, who some have said are strongly opposed to this bill, are coming back next week to testify, as is the FOP representative. Which is interesting, considering there were a number of county prosecutors from around the state in the hearing room for the legislation regarding mandatory sentencing.

I anticipate SB184 will pass out of committee next Wednesday, and head to the full Ohio Senate. Hopefully, it will move along unscathed. We'll see.

More to come. . .

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