WASHINGTON D.C. (WDTN) – Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley was in Washington D.C. Wednesday to testify in front of a Congressional committee to push for stronger gun control legislation.
Whaley made gun control reform her mission following the Oregon District mass shooting that left nine dead and 27 injured.
On Wednesday, she, along with a doctor who helped victims during the El Paso mass shooting, law enforcement, and policy experts testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the subject of “Protecting America from Assault Weapons.”
There were also pro-gun rights activists on the panel who disagreed with any notion of a federal assault weapons ban.
Whaley began the hours-long discussion recalling the Oregon District mass shooting that happened on August 4, and said the shooter’s weapon did exactly what it was meant to do – shoot or kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
“Our city has honored these heroes, the White House has honored these heroes, but if we are serious about honoring and thanking our brave first responders, the best thing we can do is make sure they are never put in this situation again,” said Whaley.
Today, the panel and Congress members discussed what the exact definition of an assault weapon was, and weighed the rights of gun owners with the responsibility of public safety.
Gun rights representatives said that a comprehensive ban of semi-automatic weapons would infringe on the rights of millions of law-abiding Americans who use the weapons to hunt or for sport.
“Upwards of 16 to 18 million semi-automatic guns are owned in the U.S.,” said Amy Swearer with the Heritage Foundation. “Only several dozen have been used in mass public shootings.”
Swearer cited mental illness or a poor mental state as the culprit in the majority of the mass shootings.
Whaley has traveled to D.C. several times since the tragedy in Dayton, pushing for changes to our nation’s gun laws. The House of Representatives passed a bill in February that would require universal background checks for gun purchases, however it has since stalled in the Senate.
Last week, Whaley and Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl joined other local and state leaders at the Ohio Statehouse, urging gun reform legislation and asking lawmakers to support Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s 17-point plan to limit gun violence.
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