Michael C. Hennenberg

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One mistake leads to huge implications for gun owners

Lawmakers in Ohio established a new law in February that focuses on self-defense and the handling of firearms. The primary purpose of the law was to expand the circumstances in which shooting someone in self-defense is legally justified.

However, many gun advocates stated there was a significant error in the new legislation. Essentially, the law makes owning certain rifles, guns with pistol grips and a weapon larger than 26 inches a felony. It may affect thousands of gun owners across the state – making them lawbreakers.

Many representatives, including State Rep. Niraj Antani, came forward after the bill’s passing and stated they are researching possible solutions for the misplaced language.

“It’s legally murky right now,” Antani told the Springfield News-Sun. “It could prohibit the sale of some firearms, which we do not want to do. That was a mistake. Our hope right now is to fix that mistake by the effective date so that it never affects anyone.”

Antani also clarified that it would be up to the jurisdiction on the law’s enforcement. He believes county prosecutors will not pursue charges for owning larger weapons, but gun advocates want certainty that their second amendment right is protected.

Other aspects of the new law

The law begins enforcement in late March, so lawmakers will have to introduce an amendment by March 20. Until the mistake is resolved, there are important notes to take away from the new legislation, especially for those in law enforcement.

The new legislation expands what classifies as justified self-defense. It specifies that the use of force or threat of force from an aggressor is sufficient for the person’s reasonable belief that the person is in imminent danger of death or severe bodily harm, and if the person used all other means to escape.

It may be beneficial for those charged with assault or other crimes because they attacked in self-defense. It depends on the specific circumstances and context for the use of force through a weapon or firearm.

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