Horowitz: Gov. DeWine threatens to veto self-defense law as crime skyrockets in Ohio

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As violent crime reaches record levels in Ohio’s major cities, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) appears to be more concerned with using law enforcement against peaceful citizens and business owners. Now, he doesn’t want you to defend yourself when the criminals he released from prison or the Antifa mobs attack you on the streets. Will Ohio Republicans stand up to this Republican in name only?

The right to bear arms is not just about the Second Amendment. It’s rooted in the natural right to self-defense, which predated the Bill of Rights and was recognized by colonial governments since the settlement of the continent. As Sam Adams stated in 1772 regarding colonial rights, “Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life. Secondly, to liberty. Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.” After all, without the right to self-defense, there are no rights to life, liberty, or property.

To that end, numerous states have adopted “stand your ground” laws to affirm this basic right. Most red states allow victims of imminent threat to stand their ground and defend their lives rather than retreating whenever they are legally allowed to be in the place of the threat. Obviously, a person has the right to bodily integrity not just in his home but in any place he can legally enter. As Thomas Jefferson said, “It is their right and duty to be at all times armed.” Which is why he once advised a friend, “Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”

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This proposition should never be controversial, but liberals like Gov. Mike DeWine who side with the criminals are offended by the concept of self-defense.

Just before Christmas, the Republican-dominated state legislature made Ohio the 36th stand-your-ground state by removing the requirement that one be in their home or car in order to use deadly force against imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. The bill, SB 175, passed the Senate 18-11 and the House 52-31.

One would expect this to be easily signed by a Republican governor, but Mike DeWine is no Republican. DeWine complained that the legislature took up a self-defense bill rather than his gun control bill, leaving room to suggest he might veto the bill.

“Before the legislature took up other gun bills, they really should focus on what we have sent them, where we know there are things that will protect children, protect families,” DeWine said during his coronavirus briefing on Monday. “The legislature can act on these, and unfortunately they did not do so.”

State Rep. Jim Holmes (R), who voted for the bill, told TheBlaze in a phone interview that he disagrees with DeWine’s assertion that self-defense laws are a distraction to the anti-crime agenda. “I believe that Stand Your Ground laws actually increase the collective security and safety in a community,” said the 30-year Marine veteran speaking of his experience in providing security and deterrent in volatile theaters. “The only way to stop aggressors is to confront them. Additionally, Stand Your Ground laws reinforce the fundamental conservative values of individual responsibility and personal freedom.”

What DeWine fails to understand is that his gun control bills are worthless in protecting the citizenry with all the criminals being released from prison daily. All of Ohio’s major cities now have record homicides because violent gun felons don’t get locked up. Gun control doesn’t work, especially when criminals are let out.

That leaves citizens with limited options to protect themselves. There are record numbers of homicides throughout the state’s major cities this year with no sign of relief in sight. Peaceful citizens will have to defend themselves most often out on the streets and in public spaces. Already two weeks ago, Cleveland broke the modern record for homicides set back in 1991 when the city suffered 175 murders in one year. Cleveland is also experiencing a crisis of carjackings. Columbus, the state’s capital and largest city, recorded 173 homicides as of earlier this week, blowing past the previous record of 143 set in 2017. Cincinnati broke its annual homicide record two weeks ago.

Even the midsized cities are exploding with crime. Toledo broke a 40-year record for homicides this year. Akron experienced a 71% increase in year-over-year gun gun-related crimes, and the murder rate is the highest in decades.

DeWine’s recipe to deal with this – let out gun felons (“criminal justice reform”), clamp down on inanimate objects, and infringe upon the right to self-defense – is creating a living hell. Ohio has let so many people out of prison and has limited new entrants to such an extent that there are fewer people in the state’s prison system than at any time since 2005. Rather than working on locking up these criminals, DeWine is focused on the false narrative of “police reforms” and “de-escalation” training. Evidently, as implied by his veto threat, he wants citizens to engage in de-escalation tactics with violent criminals on drugs as well.

Who needs proactive policing and self-defense in DeWine’s utopia anyway? The only possible crimes one could commit under his executive control are opening a restaurant at capacity and not wearing a Chinese mask. Given that most criminals dutifully wear masks, we must conclude that DeWine feels there is no need for self-defense.


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