DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – One year after the mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District, Governor Mike DeWine is calling on the Ohio General Assembly to advance the STRONG Ohio bill.
He held a moment of silence at the beginning of his Tuesday news conference in honor of the nine who were killed on August 4, 2019.
“Nine people who went to the Oregon District to enjoy a night out never came home. Nine people who were fiercely loved by their family and by their friends, nine people who we cannot, should not forget,” he said.
Governor DeWine went on to thank the police officers who ran toward the danger, saving countless lives.
“For as long as I live, I will never forget going to the Oregon District that morning, along with Mayor Whaley, Chief Biehl, Fran, myself, and seeing that crime scene. I’m an old, former county prosecuting attorney. I’ve been to a lot of crime scenes but I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
He noted that the tragedy took place just a few months after the area was hit with a tornado outbreak.
“The Miami Valley is resilient. Dayton is tough. Dayton is resilient. Through all of this, Dayton, the Gem City shines bright,” he said.
The Governor showed a photo mosaic unveiled by the City of Dayton on Tuesday, comprised of photographs submitted by the Dayton community combined into a larger image depicting a prayer vigil.
He recalled attending a vigil in the Oregon District, at which time attendees broke out in a chant of “Do Something!” as DeWine spoke.
“The had the right to be upset, they had the right to be mad, they had the right to mourn,” he stated. “The words certainly moved me and we vowed to answer that call.”
Among those efforts, the governor says safety resources were enhanced over the next few months for schools and hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in mental health assistance for schools. Further, DeWine says their law enforcement task force work has led to a 903 percent increase in the number of arrest warrants entered into the national warrant database since March of 2019.
“When warrants for dangerous, wanted criminals are in these systems, it significantly increases the likelihood that if they try to purchase a gun, that sale will be stopped. I am convinced that our work in improving the information that we put into the national firearms background check system has prevented criminals from purchasing guns and has, in all likelihood, saved lives,” he said.
The governor says the state is now building on these efforts by creating an e-warrant system to make the entry of warrants and protection orders into these databases as easy as possible. The new system is expected to go into effect within a month in 10 Ohio counties, including Montgomery.
However, DeWine feels there is still a need for legislation to ensure there is a requirement that any time a serious felony is committed and a warrant is issued, that the warrant is entered into the national database as well as the state’s.
This requirement is included in the STRONG Ohio bill unveiled in October of 2019.
In the first half of this year in Ohio’s eight largest cities, Gov. DeWine says homicides have increased by 27 percent compared to the same time last year. This year, 246 Ohioans have been killed, most by guns, in the state’s largest cities.
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