DAYTON, Ohio – In the wake of Dayton’s mass shooting Sunday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was shouted down by a crowd of vigil attendees wanting action.
As he took the stage in the Oregon District of Dayton, the location of Sunday’s mass shooting, and commented on the size of the crowd gathered, he was met with chants.
“Do something!” The crowd chanted over and over.
“We’re here tonight because we know that we cannot … We know that we cannot … Ease the pain of those families who have lost someone,” said DeWine, a Republican, as the chants grew. “We also know that we want to do something.”.
Nine people were killed and 27 injured when a suspected gunman opened fire at the Oregon District. The gunman was killed by police.
DeWine has been working on a “red flag law,” which would permit police or relatives to petition a court to remove guns from people deemed dangerous. Several states passed them after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
But DeWine is trying to thread a needle with Second Amendment advocates concerned about due process rights and a GOP-controlled Legislature that has shown little interest in gun control.
DeWine’s history with firearms-related legislation is mixed.
In Congress, DeWine’s support of gun control, such as background checks at gun shows, earned him an “F” rating from the NRA. In 2006, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence endorsed DeWine in his U.S. Senate race.
He improved to a “C” in 2014, after his first term as Ohio’s attorney general.
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But during the GOP primary for governor in 2018, DeWine was not the first choice of gun groups. They preferred his lieutenant governor and one-time rival Jon Husted or even former Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who proudly donned her rifle at a 2018 gun-rights rally on the Statehouse steps.
DeWine and Husted joined forces on the GOP ticket. Husted’s presence eased some gun rights advocates’ fears that DeWine might act like former Gov. John Kasich. Kasich signed every Second Amendment bill that crossed his desk and then suddenly started advocating for gun restrictions.
In the end, the National Rifle Association endorsed DeWine’s bid for governor over Democrat Rich Cordray, former leader of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“This is a vigil tonight, a vigil for the people we have lost,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. “There will be time for action.”.
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