DAYTON (WCMH) — Singer and Springfield native John Legend joined Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to call for gun control during a press conference Sunday.
The conference was held in the Oregon District, where a gunman armed with an assault rifle killed nine people and injured 27 others in the early morning hours of Aug. 4.
During the press conference, Legend echoed the calls of some during last Sunday’s candlelight vigil and called on legislators to do something about mass shootings in America.
“We’ve gotten too used to this,” Legend said. “These are our communities, places where our families and our friends live, our loved ones live, and as a native Ohioan, it’s so heartbreaking to see this gun violence exacting such a heavy toll so close to home.”
Legend called on the United States Senate to take up a gun background check bill passed five months ago by the House of Representatives.
“It’s time for them to act to pass background check legislation and a strong red flag bill right now,” he said.
Legend also cited Australia’s gun restriction laws, the first of which was passed after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre that left 35 dead and 23 wounded.
“We know restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines can help prevent mass shooting injuries and fatalities,” he said.
The National Rifle Association also came under criticism for its failure to back sensible gun legislation, with Legend saying they lobbied legislators on behalf of gun manufacturers, not gun owners.
“They want us to believe that the way we solve this problem is to arm people even more,” he said. “‘More people need guns, teachers need guns, we need guns everywhere!’ Everybody’s got to have a gun to protect each other from everyone else’s guns.”
Legend and Whaley spent the day in the Oregon District, visiting businesses in the area as well as meeting some of the victims and family members of some of those killed. The two said they will spend more time Sunday evening in the district, with Legend saying he is set to perform at one of the bars there.
Legend encouraged people to text CHECKS to 64433 in order to get in touch with their Senators and encourage them to pass sensible gun ownership laws.
“Acts of violence like the one that happened here one week ago do not belong in our country,” Legend said.
Legend was born and raised in nearby Springfield and attended Springfield North High School.