Dayton mayor reflects on year since mass shooting, continued fight for change

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who led calls for change soon after the Oregon District mass shooting, says her work to fight for gun reform continues one year later.

“It has forever changed Dayton, and there’s no doubt about that,” Whaley said of the tragedy.

Mayor Whaley told 2 NEWS a city attorney woke her up at 4 a.m. on August 4, 2019, to tell her nine people had been killed in the Oregon District.

The moments that followed will stay with her the rest of her life, she said.

“Just the huge amount of emotion from the whole day,” Whaley said. “To see the vigil that evening and just the love from the community. The pain that went through that following week through the funerals.”

In the months following the shooting, Whaley traveled to Columbus and Washington, D.C. to encourage lawmakers to pass stricter gun legislation.

One year later, she said, she’s frustrated by the lack of change.

“I was so hopeful that something would come out of the Dayton shooting immediately so cities wouldn’t have to go through what Dayton went through that day,” Mayor Whaley said.

Whaley told 2 NEWS she plans to continue working with the governor and others to advocate for gun reform.

“Nine out of ten Americans, nine out of ten Ohioans believe that we should have universal background checks,” she said. “That people like the shooter in the District shouldn’t have access to a gun.”

Although the city’s remembrance events are being held virtually, Mayor Whaley said she believes the city is still coming together again.

“We’ll keep on shining through this, through our pain, through what we’ve been through,” Whaley said. “I think we are stronger this year.”

Mayor Whaley encourages people who want to see change to vote this November and contact their state legislators.

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