DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Roughly one month after the Oregon District shooting, Dayton city leaders hosted a community discussion on gun violence.
Officials with the Dayton Human Relations Council and the Community Police Council said they considered the meeting an opportunity for people to have their questions answered.
Officials say the Community Police Council and Human Relations Council hold listening sessions throughout the year on different issues. Thursday evening’s conversation was moved up on their schedule to focus on gun violence in light of recent local and national events.
Mayor Nan Whaley gave remarks on potential reforms to address gun violence. Police Chief Richard Biehl and members of the Community Police Council also served on Thursday’s panel.
The discussion not only focused on mass shootings, but all forms of gun violence.
“Hearing gunfire at our house is normal,” said Scott Sliver, a member of the Dayton Community Police Council. “I hate that it’s normal.”
Members of the public had an opportunity to ask questions and have their voices heard about what can be done to combat gun violence.
“I wanted to be a part of that conversation to add suggestions, recommendations, and also to be here to support our local leaders,” said Jamie Gee, who lives in Dayton.”
Some people at the meeting said they believe the issue of gun violence also involves factors like mental health and poverty.
“We have to deal with poverty in this community,” said Natasha Spears, who serves on the Dayton Community Police Council. “If we choose not to, we will continue to have these meetings.”
Mayor Whaley announced she is meeting with the White House early next week to discuss gun violence. During her trip to Washington, D.C., she also plans to meet with Senate Democrats to advocate for an up-or-down vote on universal background checks for gun purchases, she added.
Here in Dayton, she said, the Community Police Council will continue discussing the issue of gun violence with the public.
“We may not all agree on how to go after the issue, but we all agree that we need to move forward,” Mayor Whaley said.
During the meeting, some panelists and community members also discussed the shooting deaths of two 17-year-olds in Dayton last week who were shot while allegedly trespassing. Chief Biehl told the crowd that the Dayton Police Department is still discussing the case with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.
Mayor Nan Whaley said she stands by her comment made Wednesday, calling the shooting a “murder.”
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