Congress Still Stuck On Gun Control One Year After Dayton Shooting

Congress Still Stuck On Gun Control One Year After Dayton Shooting

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the weeks that followed the murder of nine people in Dayton’s Oregon District on August 4, 2019, Washington fell into what’s become a usual routine after a mass shooting.

What You Need To Know

  • One year later, Congress hasn’t passed any gun control legislation
  • Sen. Sherrod Brown blames NRA’s influence on Republican Party
  • Republican Rep. Mike Turner’s call for restrictions has gone unanswered

Ohio’s congressional delegation held a moment of silence and delivered floor speeches.

President Trump awarded six Dayton Police officers the Medal of Valor.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and survivors of the shooting, were flown in to lobby lawmakers face-to-face for real gun control.

But then, momentum slowed.

“Congress is pretty good at moments of silence and pretty good at saying my hearts and prayers are with the families and the victims, but that’s just not enough,” Senator Sherrod Brown said in a virtual interview on Tuesday.

I spoke with Brown (D-Ohio) on the one-year anniversary of the shooting.

He blamed Republicans for the lack of action and accused them of giving in to the National Rifle Association’s political influence and money.

“One whole political party stands against gun safety, and I wouldn’t have said that 10 or 20 years ago because some Democrats would vote wrong and some Republicans would vote right on these issues, but that’s the way it’s become,” Brown said. “You’ve got a party that is just totally in the pocket of the gun lobby.”

Representative Mike Turner (R, 10th Congressional District), who represents Dayton and whose daughter survived the shooting, made news last summer when he announced his support for preventing the sale of military-style weapons to civilians, a magazine limit, and ‘red flag’ laws.

He argued the mass shooting still happened in Dayton, despite a quick and heroic police response.

“I think it eliminates the argument of people who say, ‘Well, if we just arm everybody, then you won’t have these circumstances,’” Turner told CNN last September. “Or if you just have an increased police presence — the police were there, they were visible…but nonetheless, this mass murder was able to kill nine people and injure 27.” 

Turner did not respond to an interview request for this story, but he marked the first anniversary on the House floor last week.

“A year later, our community is still reeling from this senseless act of evil,” Turner said. “Even with the police’s quick action, nine lives were lost.”

House Democrats had passed a background check bill in February 2019, but 18 months later, the Republican-led Senate still hasn’t voted on it. And other legislative efforts after the Dayton shooting have gone nowhere.

In our interview, Brown recalled speaking with President Trump in Dayton right after the shooting. He said he looked the president in the eye and asked for change.

Brown told me he doesn’t think gun control legislation will become law until Democrats control the White House and the U.S. Senate.

“Right after Dayton, you heard these hopeful messages from the local Republican Congressman Mike Turner, and you heard others say things — even heard the president sound like he maybe cares,” Brown said. “But then reality sets in and the gun lobby knocks on the door and visits the president and writes checks to these members of Congress.”

In 2016, the NRA gave every Ohio Republican in Congress a grade of ‘A,’ except for Rep. Troy Balderson (R, 12th Congressional District) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R, 16th Congressional District), who weren’t in office yet.

Four of Ohio’s five Democrats were given an ‘F,’ while Rep. Tim Ryan (D, 13th Congressional District) had a ‘D.’

More recent data is not publicly available.

And as of 2018, Turner had received nearly $22,000 from the NRA since he was first elected to Congress in 2002. 

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