The measure expands the so-called “stand your ground” right from an individual’s house and car to any place, “if that person is in a place in which the person lawfully has a right to be.”

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP/KDKA) — Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday defended his decision to sign into law a gun rights bill eliminating Ohioans’ duty to retreat before using force.

The Republican signed the bill Monday despite his long expressed concerns that GOP lawmakers were ignoring his own legislation proposed following the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton.

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The measure expands the so-called “stand your ground” right from an individual’s house and car to any place, “if that person is in a place in which the person lawfully has a right to be.”

DeWine said he’s not giving up, and will continue to ask the new GOP-controlled General Assembly to approve his proposals to toughen background checks and boost penalties for felons committing new crimes with guns.

His measures are not about taking guns away from law-abiding people, but taking them “from people who aren’t supposed to have them anyway, and that’s violent offenders,” DeWine said.

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Republican lawmakers and gun rights groups praised DeWine for signing the “stand your ground” bill. Democrats, big city mayors and Black lawmakers have strongly criticized him for the move.

Such laws “upend centuries of traditional self-defense doctrine and threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism,” Democratic Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said Tuesday.

Before being signed, actress Elizabeth Banks spoke out against the bill on Twitter.

“I don’t want to live in a world where we fear our neighbors so much that we can’t freely lose a ball/dog/frisbee or cut through somebody’s yard to avoid harassment – all things I have done. What yards did you wander into and why?”

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