DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Local and state officials in the Miami Valley are moving forward with a bipartisan, expanded call to action to get new gun legislation passed following the Oregon District mass shooting.
State Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) joined with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith, both Democrats, to promote their ‘Do Something’ campaign in the Oregon District Friday.
Nearly three months ago, chants of “Do something” filled East Fifth Street, hours after a gunman killed nine people.
“At the time, I took note of the simple power of that chant, ‘Do something!'” Lehner said. “It was a non-partisan, non-political plea to fix a national problem that had come to our community on that day.”
During Friday’s press conference, Lehner said she is a prime sponsor of several bills introduced in the Ohio Senate, including those focused on large-capacity magazines, background checks and the minimum age for gun purchases.
“There seems to be growing support for the governor’s proposal,” she said. “And that’s why I think that’s our best bet of getting something passed. But if legislators are not hearing from constituents on a regular basis, I don’t think we’re going to see a lot of movement.”
The Do Something campaign is working on distributing 2,500 signs to keep the group’s message alive, according to officials.
“We can all help remind folks that we want action,” Mayor Whaley said. “We want [the] state legislature to do something.”
“Action to stop these senseless killings needs to happen now,” said Keith, who donated funding for the signs. “In Columbus and in Washington.”
Sammy Caruso – whose friend lost a cousin in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting – said he believes the campaign is a promising sign of progress.
“I think when Mayor Whaley and Sen. Lehner can work on something so bipartisan, I think it’s definitely optimistic,” he said.
Caruso organized the ‘Enough is Enough’ rally in Dayton, weeks after the Oregon District shooting.
“Our Ohio statehouse needs to not only move forward on the governor’s plan, but continue on that and move forward with even safer gun laws,” he said.
State Sen. Lehner said she believes it’s going to take a lot of work to get more Republicans on board with proposed legislation.
“I’m optimistic about the governor’s proposal,” Lehner said. “I’m not so optimistic about the others. But that doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying.”
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