“Because the Ohio constitution says so!”

          Governor John Kasick once again takes a reactionary view on the  individual right to self defense in Ohio.  The Ohio legislature did not move on his “red flag” legislation, (which is likely unconstitutional and rife for fraud), so he vetoed a bill which would shift the burden of proof in self defense cases to the prosecution.  This shift would finally bring Ohio in line with the remaining 49 states in the Union.  

           Article 1 Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution states, “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.”

             The Ohio legislature has already recognized that the right to self defense predates the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions. “The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition. Except as specifically provided by the United States Constitution, Ohio Constitution, state law, or federal law, a person, without further license, permission, restriction, delay, or process, may own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.” Ohio Revised Code Section 9.68.

            Still Kasich claims that, “rotten, Stinking politics” was at work.  The purpose of the legislation was to level the playing field in Ohio courts and not give prosecutors the advantage in legitimate cases of self defense.    The current law requires a claimant of self defense to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (51%) that they had a reasonable belief of suffering serious physical harm, that the only way to avoid the harm was the use of deadly force, and that the claimant did not violate a duty to retreat.  The prosecution can then disprove any one of these emergents by a factor of 1% and then the claimant can be convicted.

             That is the equivalent of moving a football across the 51 yard line to win a game.   The proposed law would not result in less convictions for crimes like murder.  It would however, result in prosecutors and police having to build better cases for purposes of trial.  As a former prosecutor, I am in favor of the proposed law.  I would not be afraid to try a case, provided I had the evidence to prove all elements beyond a reasonable doubt.  Including disproving a false claim of self defense.  The proposed law did not remove the standard of reasonableness of conduct that currently exists. 

            Kasich has mentioned that for the first time in his life the possibility of someone coming through a door and shooting us exists.  The failure of this logic is that this “specific possibility” has existed since the creation of the firearm in China in the 10th century. 

            The recognition of the right for individuals to defend themselves has existed since people fought over who got to sleep in what cave.