Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ohio gets the Castle Doctrine

Governor Strickland has signed Senate Bill 184, aka the Ohio Castle Doctrine into law:
Over the objections of law-enforcement groups, Gov. Ted Strickland yesterday signed into law a bill that relaxes certain gun restrictions and establishes a "castle doctrine" for shooting an intruder in self-defense.

The legislation, Senate Bill 184, takes effect in 90 days.

It was backed by the National Rifle Association to establish a presumption that a person acts in self defense when shooting someone who unlawfully enters his or her home or occupied vehicle. Supporters say it will protect the innocent from facing charges.

Amendments added to the bill will allow people to carry unloaded firearms in the cab of a vehicle with ammunition nearby and prohibit landlords from telling tenants they cannot own guns.

What press coverage there is seems critical, but the announcement on the Governors site has this to say:
State Senator Steve Buehrer sponsored SB 184, which presumes that a person has acted in self-defense when using force that may cause death or injury against an individual who has unlawfully entered the person’s home or occupied vehicle. Under current Ohio law, the burden lies on the resident who has used force to prove his or her reasoning for such action.

Get that? Under current law, if someone breaks into your home and you use lethal force to protect yourself you're presumed guilty and must prove you acted in self defense.

However, if someone breaks in and kills you, they're presumed innocent. Really.

This bill corrects that. The folks at OhioCCW have an analysis up, but neither they nor I are providing legal advice or a professional interpretation. You want that, pay a lawyer.

Good news for the people of Ohio.