Concerns about an increase in deaths are growing in Ohio after passage of the “stand your ground” law, which goes into effect Tuesday.

While supporters argue the new law gives the public additional protection, others believe it could lead to a rise in gun deaths, The Columbus Dispatch reported. The “stand your ground” law removes the previous legal obligation to remove oneself from a confrontation before using deadly force as a last resort. 

For an individual to be justified in using deadly force under the new law, they must meet certain standards. The person can not be responsible for starting the confrontation, they must have the legal right to be present wherever the altercation occurs, they must be in fear for their life or serious bodily harm, and they must be able to explain why they acted.

However, those opposed to the new law, like Emilia Syke, the minority leader of the Ohio House of Representatives, believe it is flawed. “Shoot-first laws are already in place in other states and have proven to disproportionately harm Black people and increase homicide rates,” she explained. “Ohio’s new shoot-first law will threaten more Black lives and ultimately make us all less safe.”

Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a law professor at the University of Dayton, claims the new law will encourage people to take the law into their own hands. “We’re going to see more death,” he told Dayton 24/7 Now. “There’s going to be more instances where people resolve their own problems.”

Rather than walking away from a confrontation, Hoffmeister believes people will choose to stay and resort to violence. “What’s going to happen is someone’s going to be in a bar, there’s going to be a fight and instead of walking away from the fight, they’re just going to draw their weapon,” he said.

However, Eric Delbert, a police officer, counters that understanding the new law requires training. He insisted that using deadly force will have plenty of consequences even if individuals manage to avoid jail time.

“We teach this at exhaustion during our classes. It has to be the last thing when you’re out of options to use lethal force,” Delbert said. “You might not get charged criminally, but you will get sued civilly. Your life is going to change the moment you pull the trigger.”

Ohio isn’t the only place to pass the controversial law. There are currently over 30 “stand your ground” states, including Alabama, Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Ohio's new law follows a tragic shooting in Dayton's Oregon District in August 2019, when a lone gunman killed nine people and injured 17 others.

police tape Here, a crime scene tape blocks access to the public on March 20, 2018, in Sunset Valley, Texas. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images