Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Editorials

Gun bill is political gravy

There’s something very ungallant and unchivalrous about Republican Ohio lawmakers’ rush to pass the “Stand Your Ground” law before other gun bills that affect the safety of children.

The essence of “stand your ground” is that it protects the right of a citizen to shoot someone who is threatening them or their property without first having a duty to retreat.

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So while innocent children in their classrooms hope not to be gunned down by somebody with a shotgun, a semi-automatic handgun, or an assault-type rifle, lawmakers are in haste to protect the legal rights of already well-armed and legally well-protected people.

A more altruistic and public-spirited gun-rights community and legislature would act first to protect the most vulnerable — such as children in schools — before further showering rights on those who already have the law on their side and presumably already have guns.

The Republican-controlled House is obsessed with this legislation, having already held seven hearings on the bill. It came out of a House committee on Tuesday and is now pending before the House for a vote.

The bill is pure political gravy for Republican lawmakers as it offers political benefits at no cost. There will be no regulations to be drafted, state money to be spent, or cranking up of bureaucratic machinery.

Ohio law already allows people to protect themselves, their families, and their property, yet lawmakers pretend those protections don’t exist.

An offensive example was provided by state Rep. Ron Young (R., Leroy) who sarcastically said that no longer will “you have to prove that somehow you reached out in a very understanding and sensitive way and attempted to make peace.”

“I would think that’s difficult to do when someone is holding a gun on you threatening your life,” Mr. Young said.

Such unctuousness, and based on a false representation of current state law, is demeaning to the Ohio House of Representatives.

Gov. John Kasich has said that he will not sign the bill, and we hope he sticks to his guns, no matter the cost — even if the gun lobby is using this legislation to leverage if the governor wants action on his own gun-safety bill package.

This unnecessary and selfish bill has some local co-sponsors, namely Derek Merrin (R., Monclova Township), Robert McColley (R., Napoleon), Craig Riedel (R., Defiance), and Robert Sprague (R., Findlay). They’ll have a lot to answer for if “Stand Your Ground” is acted on before more urgent legislation is taken up.

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