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Mother of slain teen calls on Ohio lawmakers to halt 'stand your ground' bill

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Lucia McBath, mother of slain Florida teenager Jordan Davis, joined a coalition of legislators and activists on Thursday to call on Governor John Kasich and Senate President Keith Faber to stop deliberations and any future legislative activity on House Bill 203, the proposed "stand your ground" legislation that passed the Ohio House in November.

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"It gives immunity to the criminals," McBath said at a press conference on Thursday at the ProgressOhio office in Columbus. "It broadens the scope in which they're able to use their guns on innocent victims. It gives them complete authority to shoot first and ask questions later. I am imploring your legislators, but more importantly, your governor, to kill this bill."

HB 203 would change Ohio law to remove a person's obligation to retreat from a perceived life-threatening situation before resorting to deadly force. It would also automatically recognize concealed handgun permits issued by states that recognize Ohio concealed-carry permits.

"'Stand your ground' has been proven to increase homicides and negatively impact communities of color. We call on Governor Kasich and Ohio senators to put a halt to this dangerous legislation," said the Rev. Jawanza Colvin, Pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland.

"Stand your ground" laws create "a false impression that it is OK to shoot first and think later, even when Ohioans are unarmed and the situation is a misunderstanding," said Sybil Edwards-McNabb, president of the Ohio Conference of NAACP. "It creates an environment that can lead to innocent Ohioans being killed for reasons that are less than life threatening."

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