COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — To start Tuesday’s coronavirus press briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine reflected on the one-year anniversary of a shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District in which nine people were killed.
17 other people were injured by gunfire and more than two dozen were injuries in the stampede that followed.
“Nine people who went to the Oregon district to enjoy a night out never came home, nine people who were fiercely loved by their family and by their friends. Nine people who we cannot and should not forget,” DeWine said.
DeWine paused for a moment of silence to remember the lives lost and lives forever changed on one of Ohio’s darkest days.
“We offer our most sincere thanks to the officers who ran towards, not away, but towards the danger and they saved lives,” DeWine said. “This is still a very emotional memory as I know it is for so many. For as long as I live, I will never forget going to the Oregon district that morning.”
During DeWine’s address to the crowd of mourners, which had gathered for a vigil, some yelled out for the governor and elected officials to ‘Do Something’ and step up their efforts to reform gun control.
“I can still hear the heartbroken and angry mourners chanting, ‘Do something. Do Something.’ And rightfully so. They had the right to be upset, they had the right to be mad, they had the right to mourn; demanding their state do something to stop gun violence. The words certainly moved me and we vowed to answer that call.”
Gov. DeWine called out Ohio’s elected officials in the House and Senate saying Ohio’s laws are exactly where they were a year ago when the massacre took place in Dayton.
“Ohioans are saying to the state legislature, ‘Do something.’ I’m calling on the General Assembly to advance the “Strong Ohio” bill. We must not let the deaths of these nine people be forgotten nor can we continue to ignore the fact that we have a generation of young people who have been murdered on the streets of our cities on a daily basis.”
DeWine added that in October, the state unveiled “Strong Ohio,” a package of legislation designed to protect the rights of Ohio’s law-abiding citizens.
“Our bill would better protect our citizens from those with a propensity toward violence,” DeWine said. “It would better ensure that those who are a danger to themselves or to others get help and also it better prevents the sale of guns to those who are prohibited from owning them.”
DeWine said the state has made the following gun reform efforts since last year’s shooting in Dayton:
- Enhanced safety resources for Ohio schools
- Invested hundreds of millions of dollars in mental health assistance for Ohio schools
- Offered grants to make churches safer
- Offered funding to help law enforcement expedite dangerous criminals
- Warrant task force work has led to a 903 percent increase in the number of arrest warrants entered into the national warrant database since March 2019
“I am convinced that our work in improving the information that we put into the national firearm background checks system has prevented criminals from purchasing guns and has in all likelihood saved lives,” DeWine said. “We are now building on these efforts by developing an e-warrant system to make the entry of warrants and protection orders into these databases as easy as possible.”
DeWine said they have designed legislation for the system and that it will go into effect in a month for 10 counties in Ohio, including Montgomery County where Dayton is located.