Wednesday, June 4, 2008

'Castle Doctrine' comes to Ohio

In an earlier post, I discussed a law commonly referred to as "Castle Doctrine." Thanks to tireless grassroots activism and a favorable political climate, this fundamental right to armed self-defense soon will be law in Ohio.

S.B.184 has cleared its last legislative hurdle. Gov. Ted Strickland is expected to sign it in the coming weeks. And while the law won't go into effect for three months, here's what Castle Doctrine will mean for all law-abiding citizens of Ohio:
  • If someone breaks into a person's occupied home or temporary habitation, or if someone breaks into a person's occupied car, that person has an initial presumption to act in self-defense.
  • Victims of crime will be immune from civil actions from their attackers (and their attackers' families) for actions that harm or kill an attacker.

Specific to law-abiding gun owners:

  • A citizen won't need to have a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry a concealed handgun lawfully in their own home.
  • An "unloaded firearm" will be defined as one with no ammunition in the firearm or in magazines or speedloaders, regardless of where else ammunition is stored.
  • The law will allow CHL holders to pick-up and drop-off students in school safety zones.
  • Lawful concealed carry will be permitted in state-owned shelters, restrooms and parking garages, and lawful concealed carry in privately owned parking garages will no longer be a crime.
  • Landlords will no longer be allowed to prohibit their tenants from owning or carrying firearms.
  • CHL holders will be permitted to carry a firearm in an unlocked glove compartment or center console.
(For more information, visit the Buckeye Firearms Association.)

Remember, Castle Doctrine isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card in Ohio, nor does Castle Doctrine apply in every state. It's also important to note that the law almost never permits armed defense of property -- only life. Each of us must know the law and make our choices accordingly. And if we do choose to make armed defense part of protecting self and family, professional training is a must.

That said, however, all Ohioans should celebrate the legalization of armed self-defense. It's about time.