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Dayton Daily News: Not nearly enough has been done since Oregon District mass shooting

Oregon District a year after mass shooting
Oregon District a year after mass shooting

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Editor's Note: This editorial appeared on the the Dayton Daily News' Ideas and Voices page on Sunday, Aug. 2. The section was devoted to the first anniversary of the Oregon District mass shooting. Other columns related to the tragedy are linked below.

A year ago come Tuesday, bullets seared through flesh on what had been a glorious summer night.

Hours later, tears flowed and friends embraced on the Oregon Historic District’s cobblestone main street, the place where dozens were wounded and Logan Turner, Nicholas Cumer, Thomas McNichols, Beatrice Warren-Curtis, Monica Brickhouse, Megan Betts, Derrick Fudge, Lois Oglesby and Saeed Saleh took their last breaths during a rampage that lasted merely 32 seconds.

Hours after the shooting, a chant rolled through the crowd like a river soon after Gov. Mike DeWine took the microphone in the wake of the worst mass shooting in this state’s history.

A year ago come Tuesday, mourners from all parts of our community cried, “Do something,” to the governor, to state lawmakers, to anyone who would listen.

To those who could do something.

ExploreDeWine on gun reforms: ’We have done something but it’s not enough’

DeWine said he heard the plea.

He proposed nine steps for the Ohio legislature and then added more.

A year come Tuesday, little has been done in Ohio.

The Items the governor put on his to-do list have gathered dust, becoming mere suggestions rather than the calls to action they should have been.

  • Ohio still doesn’t have a red flag law, which allows families and police to seek a court order to seize weapons from someone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. DeWine himself backed off this provision before giving his plan to lawmakers.
  • No increased penalties for straw men purchases – firearms bought by others for those who are prohibited from buying guns.
  • No stiffer penalties for felonies committed with guns.
  • No longer prison sentences for offenders who commit crimes with guns while prohibited from possessing firearms.
  • No increased access to mental health hospitals.
  • No stiffer penalties for those who break the law when it comes to buying, selling, using or owning firearms.
  • No expanded, mandatory background checks. DeWine backed off this provision and instead asked lawmakers for a voluntary program. None of it has been approved by lawmakers.
  • No expansion of mental health holds to allow 72 hour holds in hospitals for people with drug dependency or chronic alcoholism.
  • No increased prison time for selling or providing a gun to a minor.
  • No additional help for parents to identify emerging problems.

Based on our analysis, a handful of things have been done.

Nine million dollars in grants were allocated in the state budget to improve security at soft targets like churches and nonprofits. Lawmakers also approved $675 million for schools to improve social and mental health services in schools. The budget also allocated $15 million from Ohio Medicaid funds to expand access to tele-medicine mental health services.

ExploreVoices: “I’m choosing to focus on how our city rallied”

A plan is underway to implement the Sandy Hook Promise’s program in Ohio schools to train staff how to detect warning signs. The DeWine administration also has launched a pilot program to increase the number of warrants added to the background check systems, including in Montgomery County.

We can’t say Ohio leaders and lawmakers have done nothing, but we can say they have not done enough. DeWine told the Dayton Daily News that he’s done all he can without legislative changes.

ExploreVoices: ‘I continue to fight,’ Oregon District survivor who ran from the scene says.

There is so much that can be done.

This summer, many of us have also been in a fight for our lives and livelihoods as the coronavirus has kept us apart.

We must not forget what happened a year ago come Tuesday and the cry that swelled in the city’s oldest neighborhood.

We can do something.

ExploreVoices: ‘I continue to fight for him by honoring his legacy,’ mass shooting victim’s son says

We expect our lawmakers to do the same.

We urge you to continue the cry that started on Fifth Street in the Oregon District a year ago come Tuesday.

Nine lives were stolen on what had been a glorious summer night.

ExploreRobinson: A few split seconds changed everything for Dayton

We should do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen again.