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Lawmakers Debate 'Stand Your Ground' Bill at Ohio Statehouse

COLUMBUS (Chris Vanocur/Kate Liebers) -- A proposed "Stand Your Ground" gun law continues to face an uncertain and fiercely debated future. 

People gathered at the Ohio Statehouse to debate House Bill 203, which would greatly expand when deadly force can be used in self-defense.

Opponents often cited the death of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman last year. Zimmerman was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in accordance with the state's "Stand Your Ground" statue.
Rep. Alicia Reece said she didn't want a law like this adopted in Ohio.

"The fact that this bill continues to move forward in the legislative process is alarming," Reece said.

Law enforcement as well as legislators and city council members around the state have tried to shoot this bill down.

"Expanding the castle doctrine beyond the home and vehicle, as considered by House Bill 203, creates a law that presumes the use of deadly force is reasonable," said Sharon Fairchild-Soucy, an Oberlin City councilmember.

Race was an underlying subject during Wednesday's debate.  

According to an Urban Institute study, 34 percent of the homicides caused when white people shoot black people were considered justified, while only 3 percent of homicides caused when black people shoot white people were deemed justified.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Terry Johnson (R), cited the constitution in defense of gun ownership in Ohio.

"We have a legitimate 2nd Amendment* right that protects our ability to keep and bear arms," Johnson said.

The hearing ended without a vote.
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