Yvette Simpson. Photo provided

Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution on Oct. 25, opposing Ohio legislation that loosens concealed carry restrictions, also known as Stand Your Ground. Councilmember and mayoral candidate Yvette Simpson sponsored the resolution opposing Ohio House Bill 228 and Senate Bill 180, which she deemed could be dangerous to both Cincinnati residents and police officers.

“I don’t understand who would bring forth this legislation in a world where citizens already feel less safe,“ Simpson said, who believes the proposed legislation is much worse than any Stand Your Ground law. In 2013, Simpson authored a resolution opposing proposed Ohio legislation to create a Stand Your Ground law, which did not pass.

The current Conceal Carry legislation seeks to expand the state’s “Castle Doctrine,” beyond an individual’s home or vehicle. Currently, the state law allows individuals who have no duty to retreat to defend themselves while located in their home or vehicle with a weapon. The bill also eliminates the concealed carry licensee’s duty to keep their hands in plain sight when stopped by a law enforcement officer.

“The one challenge that I think is dangerous for law enforcement is the removal of the requirement of individuals to show their hands when pulled over. This is dangerous for individual citizens, dangerous for premises that need to be protected and dangerous for our officers,” Simpson said.

Simpson also noted that the proposed legislation removes the requirement of premises like schools, police or sheriff offices, daycare centers, courthouses, airports, and pools won’t be required to post signs that individuals are not allowed to bring in concealed carry weapons into the building. Prior Wednesday’s vote, Simpson told Council members that the resolution is not an attempt to restrict the lawful right for gun owners to conceal and carry, but a chance to help protect the rights of Cincinnati residents.

“I am extremely worried about this,” Simpson said.

The proposed Ohio legislation would also significantly reduce the penalties for illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

Ohio Senator Cecil Thomas, a former Cincinnati police officer, said he is concerned with the removal of the “in plain sight” duty, and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio agrees with him.

Also concerned about the proposed legislation is Ohio Senator Sean O’Brien, a former assistant prosecutor, who believes the law, in certain circumstances, would make it nearly impossible to prosecute someone for a fatal shooting.

In 2012, the National Conference of U.S Mayors offered a resolution opposing Stand Your Ground legislation, and the American Bar Association’s Taskforce on Stand Your Ground laws found that these laws have had an adverse, rather than positive, effect on deterring crime.

Copies of the City Council resolution will be sent to Gov. John Kasich, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representative Cliff Rosenberger, President of the Ohio Senate Larry Obhof, and all Cincinnati representatives in the Ohio House and Senate.

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