Potential victims who harm or kill apparent intruders in their homes or vehicles would get the legal benefit of the doubt under a just-passed bill destined to get Gov. Ted Strickland's signature.
Sponsored by state Sen. Stephen Buehrer (R., Delta) and pushed by the National Rifle Association, the measure served as a magnet for changes to Ohio's 4-year-old law allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns.
The bill would take effect 90 days after Mr. Strickland signs it.
"He believes the legislation provides law-abiding gun owners with appropriate and reasonable protections, and he's looking forward to signing the bill," said Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey.
Commonly called the "Castle Doctrine," the bill shifts the burden away from the apparent victim to prosecutors and police to prove that an individual did not act in self-defense. The bill specifies that the legal resident does not have a duty to retreat when someone is illegally entering or attempting to enter his home or car.
"A lot of people believe that's the current law, that you have the ability to protect you and your family in your house," Mr. Buehrer said. "They are shocked to find out that's not the case. The general law in Ohio is if you're attacked, you have a duty to retreat. The courts have recognized that if you're in your home, you don't have a duty to retreat, but we're only one prosecutor or one judge away from losing that right in case law in Ohio."