Dayton city leaders urge residents to pressure legislators about gun laws

City commissioners seek action after Texas school shooter kills 21; attack comes almost 3 years after Oregon District shooting

Before Wednesday’s city commission meeting, Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr. asked for a moment of silence for the victims of Tuesday’s Texas school massacre.

Mims said a vast majority of Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases.

“I ask that you call your federal legislators, as well as state legislatures, to remind them how grave and how important it is for this nation to protect our citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable,” Mims said.

Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild said more than 1,000 days have passed since the Aug. 4, 2019, Oregon District mass shooting and a memorial event that evening where citizens chanted “do something” at Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and other elected officials, who were on stage.

Fairchild said he remembers the anguished cries of loved ones of the shooting victims at the Dayton Convention Center that day, as authorities identified the injured and deceased.

ExploreKeep up with the latest updates on Texas school shooting here

Fairchild said he will not accept that the city of Dayton cannot do anything about violence like this.

He said he wants city staff to reach out to statewide and national advocacy groups, including those specifically focused on gun violence and safety, to try to identify a few actions the city can take to demonstrate that “we are not going to give up in the midst of this fight and shrink away from our responsibilities as leaders of this community.”

Commissioner Chris Shaw got choked up talking about the shooting and also while accusing Republican lawmakers of blocking legislation that he says could help curb this senseless violence.

“Maybe they should be forced to sit with local leaders as we escort families into these rooms to be informed about what has happened to their family members,” he said, his voice trembling. “Maybe then they would get off their (expletive) and do something about this.”

Addressing Fairchild, Commissioner Matt Joseph said it’s already clear what lawmakers could do to help prevent mass shootings, but they refuse to do it.

Besides advocacy, the city has very little it can do at the local level, Joseph said, but federal and state lawmakers could require universal background checks, limit gun sales to people who are mentally ill or pose safety threats and stop blocking efforts to study gun violence, which could help identify causes and ways to help stamp it out.

“We know these solutions, and they will not do them,” he said. “They don’t value the lives of these kids as they should.”

ExploreVideo: 2019 Dayton crowd urges politicians to "do something" about gun violence

Joseph encouraged citizens to contact their elected representatives and demand action on gun violence.

“If you see one of your state legislators out and about, shaking hands and smiling, that is the time to talk to them about this,” he said. “If it’s uncomfortable, bring it up anyway. This is a very important thing.”

“Lord our hearts are heavy this morning,” said Commissioner Shenise Turner-Sloss, during the regular invocation that precedes the meeting.

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