by Marc KovacCapital Bureau ChiefColumbus -- Two lawmakers from northwestern Ohio introduced legislation June 13 providing legal protections to Ohioans defending their homes, their families and themselves against violent attacks. The self-defense bills would create the legal presumption that residents fighting back against home intruders acted in self defense and would grant them immunity from future civil claims made by perpetrators. The bills are being offered by Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) and Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon). "People want to feel safe in their homes and in their communities," Buehrer told reporters during a press conference at the Statehouse. Under existing law, residents defending their homes against intruders must prove the perpetrators were close enough to do them harm and intended to do harm. The proposed legislation reverses those roles, forcing criminals to prove they did not intend to harm occupants, Wachtmann said. "We shouldn't require someone to flee his own home if a perpetrator is climbing through the bedroom window," Buehrer added. "We think the burden certainly ought to be on the criminal or the trespasser to say that he wasn't there to do harm to a person." The civil provision would cover acts of self defense in homes or elsewhere and would prevent criminals from seeking civil recourse if injured while attacking others. Marc Kovac is the Dix Newspapers Capital Bureau chief. E-mail him at His Capital Blog can be found online at