Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday approved a bill backed by gun rights groups to revamp self-defense law in The Buckeye State.

DeWine, a Republican who has run tepid on pro-2A measures in the past, rebuffed a veto campaign urged by gun control advocates and signed Ohio Senate Bill 175 this week. The proposal was sent to his desk by the GOP-controlled legislature in mid-December after passing the Ohio Senate 18-11 and the state House 52-31 on largely party-line votes. 

"I have always believed that it is vital that law-abiding citizens have the right to legally protect themselves when confronted with a life-threatening situation," said DeWine in a statement. "While campaigning for Governor, I expressed my support for removing the ambiguity in Ohio's self-defense law, and Senate Bill 175 accomplishes this goal. That is why I have signed this bill today." 

Winding through the General Assembly for over 13 months, SB 175 removes the duty to retreat from the state's self-defense laws while extending the protection to any place an Ohio resident has a legal right to be, including public places. The measure also includes immunity provisions for nonprofits and places of worship in the event a self-defense situation occurs on its property.

“Crimes can happen quickly and without warning. Most victims have a split second to react with the best course of action for their survival. By signing SB 175, Gov. DeWine ensures the law favors victims and not criminals,” said John Weber, Ohio state director for the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action. “We look forward to working with the governor in the future to advance the interests of law-abiding Ohioans."

The bill was opposed by a half-dozen mayors of deep blue urban areas in the state – all members of the Bloomberg-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization – as well as anti-gun groups such as Everytown. 

DeWine, when asked previously about the measure, had been non-committal on how he was going to treat it once it reached his desk. Notably, the Republican has been in favor of anti-gun bills such as so-called "red flag" laws and expanded background checks since moving into the Governor's office last year, although he ran with the support of pro-gun groups. 

"In the spirit of cooperation with the General Assembly, I have signed Senate Bill 175," said DeWine this week. "I look forward to working with members of the legislature in the future to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to protect the rights of citizens who follow the law."

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