CLEVELAND — Some Ohio lawmakers and Northeast Ohio victims assistance groups believe the state needs to take a strong look at its current gun laws, in light of the tragic shootings that claimed 10 lives at a Colorado grocery store on March 22
Rep. Phil Robinson Jr., Ohio House District 6 (D), told News 5 he'll introduce HB 317, which will call for instituting universal background checks in the State of Ohio to correspond with federal law, a measure he said he'll introduce in the next several weeks.
"We must make sure that no matter if it’s an online sale, in-person sale, whether it’s between two friends or a licensed dealer, we want to make sure we have an accounting of all guns sold," Robinson said.
Robinson said he's also in support of HB 38 to restore "duty to retreat" on the part of Ohio gun owners, as a requirement before they can lawfully use lethal force. Robinson said he was disappointed in Ohio Governor Mike DeWine when he signed Senate Bill 175 in January, which will roll back the duty to retreat requirement in April.
“We know that it puts individuals of color, especially black lives at more risk, not less risk," Robinson said.
“Instead of doing something to make us more safe, instead we have further eroded protections and safety measures that are put in place.”
Robinson pointed to a 2019 Quinnipiac University poll that indicated 90% of Ohioans are in favor universal gun background checks, and a 2012 Texas A&M study indicating, in 20 states, where self-defense laws were strengthened, homicides went up by 8% in a 10-year period between 2000 and 2010.
Al Porter, President of Black on Black Crime Inc., told News 5 his support agency is seeing more families losing loved ones to senseless gun violence.
“Right now we have too many people using firearms that should have never used them in the first place,” Porter said
“It’s unfortunate that I have to do a lot of vigils, where we have to grieve along with families who lost people."
“So, I believe this is just opening up the doors for a lot more people to be murdered.”
But Dean Rieck, Executive Director with the Buckeye Firearms Association believes once again restoring "duty to retreat" will not have an impact in reducing gun violence and will put lawful gun owners unfairly in harm's way.
“The truth is the requirement for when you can use lethal force has not changed," Rieck said. "This does not give anybody a get-out-of-jail-free card, you still have to have an honest belief that your life is in danger.”
“It unfairly puts a legal burden on you at a moment when you’re trying to defend your life.”
“It gives the criminal, the person attacking you, more rights than you have at that moment.”
“We should be looking at what works and what doesn’t, and assault weapons bans, red flag laws, and magazine limits and all of that, they just don’t have an effect.”
Kim Rodecker, Owner of Cleveland's Concealed Carry Courses, said he teaches CCW students to always leave a confrontation, whenever possible, and told News 5 adding more restrictive gun laws will not reduce gun deaths.
“If you pass any kind of gun bills that ban certain things, it’s not going to mean anything to a criminal, a criminal is going to get what he wants," Rodecker said.
“Most of the time in a realistic scenario, the bad guy, he’s not going to let you retreat, if he’s close to you. He’s just going to attack, or threaten you, or do whatever he’s going to do.”