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Ohio governor reluctantly signs ‘stand your ground’ law, laments absence of gun control

Ohio governor reluctantly signs ‘stand your ground’ law, laments absence of gun control
Signing a law that would no longer require Ohioans to retreat in the face of violent crime, Governor Mike DeWine – a Republican – urged the new crop of state legislators to take up gun-control measures next.

“I have always believed that it is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation,” DeWine said in a statement released on Monday afternoon, explaining why he decided to sign Senate Bill 175 into law.

“I am very disappointed, however, that the legislature did not include in this bill the essential provisions that I proposed to make it harder for dangerous criminals to illegally possess and use guns,” he added.

DeWine had put forth a slate of gun-control proposals in August 2019, after nine people were killed and two dozen more injured in an attack outside a Dayton bar. The Republican-majority state legislature declined to act on them, however. 

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The governor said on Monday that he was signing the bill “in the spirit of cooperation with the General Assembly,” but urged the lawmakers taking their oaths of office “to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to protect the rights of citizens who follow the law.”

“These provisions will save lives. These provisions need to become law,” he added.

While the Buckeye Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association applauded the bill and DeWine’s decision to sign it, Democrats called it “dangerous” and denounced the governor for giving in to extremism.

The governor “once again folded to the extreme elements of his own party,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, reminding everyone that DeWine said he “stood with our community in our fight against gun violence” back in 2019.

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DeWine is an establishment Republican, who served as the state’s attorney general before getting elected governor in 2018. He also spent a term in the US Senate before losing to Democrat Sherrrod Brown in 2006, and backed John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid.

He has governed Ohio during the pandemic much as a Democrat would, however. He imposed strict lockdowns time and again, deferring to his health director Amy Acton, a Democrat activist. Acton gained nationwide fame in March 2020, for claiming that over 100,000 Ohioans had been infected by the coronavirus at that point. The very next day, she backtracked and said it was just a “guesstimate,” when people pointed out the official number of cases at the time was just 13.

“This is a dangerous bill that will put Ohioans’ lives at risk,” Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko said after DeWine signed the ‘stand your ground’ law, adding that “Democrats will continue to fight for common sense gun reform, but today is a sad day.”

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