Whaley to Congress regarding mass shooting: ‘Our whole city is hurting’

In her first testimony before Congress, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Wednesday detailed how a 24-year-old shooter armed with an “AR-15 pistol variant” killed nine and shot 17 others.

“In those 32 seconds, the shooter’s weapon did exactly what it was designed to do – kill or injure as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time,” she told the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing on the impact of assault weapons.

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She added, “Our whole city is hurting. All because a young man with a history of violent ideas could get his hands on a weapon capable of such destruction.”

Whaley was among seven witnesses — five of whom advocated for restrictions on assault weapons and two of whom argued for gun rights. She said she favors legislation to place a nationwide ban on assault weapons.

Whaley, a Democrat, said the best way to honor brave first responders who took down Oregon District shooter Connor Betts is to make changes so police do “not have to confront a weapon that can kill nine people in 32 seconds.”

The mayor described the mental scars that the shooting left on Dayton, saying young people talk about their new fear of crowds, Oregon District bartenders are anxious when they hear sirens and others dread the sound of fireworks.

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Dianna Muller, a retired police officer whose second career is as a professional shooter and head of The DC Project, told the committee that political leaders should back educational programs, not more laws governing firearms.

Amy Swearer, a senior legal policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, said restricting “scary looking” firearms isn’t the answer and would penalize law abiding Americans who choose assault weapons for self-defense.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, a member of the committee, asked Muller if a ban on assault weapons is the first step toward Democrat Beto O’Rourke and others taking away firearms from law abiding citizens. During the last Democratic presidential debate, O’Rourke, of El Paso yelled, “Hell yes we’re going to take your AR-15s,” in response to a question about assault rifles.

“Mr. O’Rourke probably did expose a plan that they have been denying for so long but we feel it, we know it. You can call it whatever you want but we know it’s a slippery slope,” Muller responded.

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