Youngstown council to vote on resolution in opposition to Ohio adopting a Stand Your Ground law

By David Skolnick


City council will consider a resolution Wednesday in “strong opposition” to a Stand Your Ground law in Ohio and to a federal proposal for national reciprocity for concealed-carry handgun permits.

The resolution comes after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in July of second-degree murder and manslaughter during a high-profile case that raised questions about Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The law allows people to use deadly force when they believe there is a perceived threat.

Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old male, on Feb. 26, 2012, contending he felt threatened, but his defense never used the law in his successful defense.

There is a bill in the Ohio General Assembly that would expand the situations in which a person wouldn’t need to retreat before using deadly force. Also, Congress is considering legislation that would permit a person with a concealed-carry permit in one state to have that right when traveling to other states. The House passed a bill last year in support of it by a vote of 272 to 154.

“The basis of self-defense in Ohio has worked for years, and I don’t think we need any more teeth,” said Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, who is chairman of the legislative body’s safety committee, a retired Mill Creek MetroParks police chief and one of the main forces backing the resolution.

“Also, I am not opposed to concealed-carry laws, but it should be a state’s right and not a federal law” to honor reciprocity, he said. “I’m comfortable with Ohio law on concealed carry, but other states are not as stringent as Ohio. This is a resolution telling our state Legislature that we are opposed to this.”

Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, who serves on the safety committee, said, “There’s a movement across the county against Stand Your Ground. We should not go down that path, and council will go on record that we don’t want to go down that path.”

Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, said the Stand Your Ground law is too broad.

“It allows people to react how they feel and not necessarily by fact,” she said. “You have to have certain things in place to defend yourself like you see a gun. Stand Your Ground is too open to perception and not reality.”

Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th, said Stand Your Ground “is a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. I’m not anti-gun. I support reasonable legislation, but this isn’t.”

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