Dayton leaders rip DeWine on gun issues, call for veto of teacher gun bill

Dayton City Commissioners on Wednesday lashed out against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, criticizing him for not passing tougher gun laws and taking other actions they say would reduce gun violence after the Oregon District mass shooting three years ago.

They also implored the Republican governor to veto House Bill 99, legislation that passed the Ohio Legislature on Wednesday, and would allow teachers in the state to carry firearms with as little as 24 hours of training.

“It is really imperative the governor would veto this bill if it’s passed,” Dayton City Commissioner Darryl Fairchild said during a press conference. “I think that’s the reason that we’re speaking out today to the governor.”

Dayton’s four commissioners and mayor signed and sent a letter to DeWine on Wednesday that decries some of the legislation he has signed in the last year, including a “stand your ground” law and a law that allows Ohioans to carry firearms without permits.

Dayton citizens demanded action on gun violence after the Oregon District shooting, and calls for reforms have been renewed following recent massacres in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas. But state and federal law strongly limits what kind of gun regulations cities can pass, said Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph.

DeWine after the Oregon District tragedy promised Dayton residents that he would pass “common sense” measures like expanded background checks and civil protection orders, but he did not live up to his word, Joseph said.

“Governor, you knew the right thing to do — you told us you were with us, in our fight to protect our citizens,” Joseph said. “You told us you’d do something, and we believed you, but instead, you made the problem worse.”

In their letter, the mayor and commissioners said they would be willing to work with the governor and anyone else to find ways to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people.

“Unfortunately, it seems to be open season on children,” said Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr.

Nearly half of Americans say that gun violence is a very big problem in the country, while another 24% say is it a moderately big problem, according to a Pew Research Center survey from April 2021.

But the gun control debate is divisive, and proponents and foes disagree about the effectiveness and merit of many proposed policies.

About 42% of U.S. households own a firearms, according to Gallup, and the most common reason polltakers said they owned a gun was for protection.

Gallup found that about 56% of people were somewhat or very dissatisfied with the nation’s existing gun laws and policies, while about 41% were somewhat or very satisfied.

About 36% of polltakers were dissatisfied and want stricter gun laws, while 13% were dissatisfied and want more lenient laws, while about 7% were dissatisfied but want to keep gun laws the same.

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