The Ohio Conference of the NAACP met tonight in Dayton to announce its opposition to the proposed “Stand Your Ground” gun bill, which they called a severe threat to public safety.
The Ohio House approved the bill last month, which removes a “duty to retreat” for armed Ohioans facing a threat or a perceived threat before using deadly force. It also extends the castle doctrine to a person’s vehicle and anywhere they have a legal right to be.
“If the Legislature opens the floodgates up with this type of law, that will have a disparate impact on communities of color,” said Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP, which hosted a press conference at its Third Street headquarters that included NAACP leaders from Springfield, Butler County and Cincinnati, and Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton.
NAACP leaders said that black men are often perceived as being more suspicious, threatening and dangerous than people of other races, and was the basis for the shooting deaths of Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Trayvon Martin in Florida, both unarmed black males whose deaths drew national attention.
“Basically, the ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation will justify the murder of innocent people, particularly innocent black people whose suspicion is actually based on racial prejudice, racial hatred and racial perceptions, none of which have any basis in fact,” the NAACP’s opposition statement read.
The state NAACP and local branches urge that the proposed legislation be returned to committee for further consideration of “a comprehensive bill that would adequately address the use of guns and deadly force.”
At least 25 states have removed a duty to retreat an attacker before using deadly force, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The bill now moves to the Senate, but Gov. John Kasich has said he would veto any such bill. However, Republicans say there is enough support to override a veto.
The bill was opposed by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio but supported by the Ohio Public Defender.
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