NRA Bunker by Ed Harhager

The NRA BUNKER by Ed Harhager

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“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
-Mark Twain

Self Defense in Ohio
The following excerpts are quoted from the January 23, 2018 Buckeye Firearms newsletter.  The full article is too large to include in our NLFG newsletter, so look it up online and read it all.

“Few, if any, threats to the Second Amendment are as insidious as the politician who says the right things about guns on the campaign trail, and who votes for innocuous gun bills, all the while working behind the scenes to scuttle more "controversial" pro-gun reform. In Ohio, for example, there are more A-rated members of the legislature than at almost any other time in the last 35 years. Add in a governor that was endorsed by several pro-gun organizations and it should mean easy sailing for pro-gun legislation. Yet the self-proclaimed pro-gun stalwarts have failed to move a single bill since the last legislative session ended in 2016.”

“Ohio is currently the only state in America that requires a defendant in a criminal trial to prove that she acted in self-defense.  Ohio’s requirement that the defendant prove self-defense is often referred to in legal parlance as “burden shifting.”

“Currently in Ohio, where deadly force is used, self-defense is a legally justifiable and complete defense where the defendant proves:

  1. that he was not at fault in creating the situation;
  2. that he had reasonable grounds to believe and an honest belief that he was in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm and that his only means of escape from such danger was by the use of deadly force; and
  3. that he did not violate any duty to escape to avoid the danger.

It has long been held as a fundamental notion of justice in this country that before someone can be convicted of any crime, the government must prove every defining element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.25 This standard, by which we judge guilt or innocence, is deeply rooted in our history and tradition, the principles of which date back before the founding of our country.”

“The following hypothetical illustrates the point:
John Doe ambushes, assaults, and tries to kill Jane Doe in a parking lot. Jane has a firearm on her person. Actually and reasonably fearing her life is imminent jeopardy, with no safe way to retreat, Jane shoots John, killing him. No other person witnesses the incident. A police investigation ensues and for whatever reason, the government doesn’t believe Jane and she is charged with        Ohio’s version of second degree murder. Jane does not deny she shot and killed John but does claim she acted in self-defense. In effect, Jane is affirming the elements of Ohio’s murder statute, R.C. 2903.02: “No person shall purposely cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy."

Jane’s admission that she shot and killed John is enough for the government to prove the elements of murder. The problem with this scenario, and what the police and prosecution don’t know, is that Jane is actually innocent and justified under Ohio’s definition of self-defense. Gone is the presumption of innocence, however, and Jane now has to prove her innocence in Ohio.

The trial begins, and evidence comes out that tends to show that Jane acted in self-defense. The prosecution and defense present their cases. During their deliberations the jury struggles with the two standards of proof they must apply, one beyond a reasonable doubt (to the elements of the crime) and the other a preponderance (on the issue of self-defense). The issue of self-defense is a close call for the jury, and the jury ultimately decides that while Jane came very close to proving her act was in self-defense, it didn’t amount to over 50% of the weight of the evidence. The foreperson of the jury announces their verdict: guilty. Jane’s life has been destroyed.”

“In conclusion, Ohio’s burden shifting frameworks needs to be changed for individuals to receive a fair trial in self -defense cases. Self-defense is a natural, pre-existing right of the first order and it should never be deemed a “gratuitous” or second-class defense by any state. In sum, Ohio’s burden shifting framework creates a chilling effect on self-defense, tramples on the presumption of innocence, renders the Fifth Amendment effectively meaningless, and creates an end-around to the government's burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“Ohio Senate Bill No. 180 and House Bill No. 228 solve the inherent problems. Under these Bills, as long as there is some evidence presented which tends to show the defendant acted in self-defense, the government would have to disprove at least one element of Ohio’s version of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The government would not be required to disprove all elements of self-defense. The language in these Bills adequately balance the State’s interests while providing the necessary safeguards to protect the rights of our citizens in the State of Ohio.”

“Currently, in Ohio, there is no duty to retreat in one’s home, business, or personal vehicle, but there is a duty to retreat in other places, even if you have a lawful right to be in those places.”

Please consider joining the 5 million members who now belong to the NRA.  Your membership supports our North Lawrence Fish & Game Club but more importantly you will be supporting all of our second amendment rights.  Please remember that “The NRA needs YOU” because we grow one member at a time.  Don’t think that your membership is too small to matter.  Join today and join the other 5 million members of the NRA.

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North Lawrence Fish and Game Club
15325 Lawmont St.

North Lawrence, OH