Lakewood Mayor Meghan George Issues Statement Regarding Passage of Stand Your Ground Law in Ohio | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Lakewood Mayor Meghan George Issues Statement Regarding Passage of Stand Your Ground Law in Ohio

April 07, 2021

City of Lakewood Mayor Meghan George released the following statement:

“As of midnight on April 6th, 2021, the controversial Ohio Duty to Retreat Act, better known as ‘Stand Your Ground’, became law. I have many concerns on this topic, but first I want to thank Lakewood’s State Representative Michael Skindell and State Senator Nickie Antonio for expressing their own apprehensions and opposing this irresponsible legislation. Despite being touted as an answer to community gun violence, the Ohio Duty to Retreat Act is a blatant attack on the safety of our communities across Ohio.

“I have discussed this issue at length with the Lakewood Police Department and share their disappointment in our state government. Chief Kaucheck’s greatest concern is the special interests who supported this legislation are deliberately confusing fear with safety and the result is a volatile mixture that will lead to more gun violence, not less. Before Stand Your Ground went into effect this week, Ohioans had the right not to retreat when confronted with imminent harm while in their own homes or cars–places where a threat to personal security is unlikely to be resolved by retreating. Under the new law, Ohioans now have broader rights to use deadly force when confronted with a violent situation in public spaces.

“While the troubling trend of new Stand Your Ground laws like Ohio’s continues across the United States, research has shown that these laws do little to stop violent, gun-related incidents and disproportionately affect communities of color. This creates yet another gap in a criminal justice system that already works against minorities. This law will also undoubtedly make deadly violence more probable and acceptable, as the law removes the obligation of retreat or de-escalation and sets a standard for decreased scrutiny when investigating gun-related crimes.

“The negative impact this law will have on communities cannot be overstated. Granting the right to lean into violent confrontations will inevitably make our streets more confrontational, not less, and gun violence will increase across Ohio. Here in Lakewood, we have recently seen our incidents of criminal gun activity, and, as we do everything in our power to address these unusual occurrences, we will now have another obstacle to maneuver in the continual fight against gun violence.

“I want to reassure Lakewoodites that our voices will continue to be heard on this topic. I am encouraged by efforts from our lawmakers to repeal this reckless law. My administration continues to take the steps necessary to maintain a safe and secure community for all of Lakewood’s residents, visitors, and workers. I urge all Lakewoodites to talk to your neighbors about this issue and advocate for common-sense gun control legislation from our state government. This is a serious concern, but I expect that it will be temporary and, with our advocacy, better judgment and legislation will prevail.”