The shots heard ’round the world

Politicians and businesses react to recent gun violence across the nation


Supporting the city: A memorial for the recent mass shooting stands outside the bar Ned Peppers, the site of the tragedy.

Sophia Shannon, Editor

After the recent mass shooting in Dayton, the topic of gun violence has gained widespread national attention. Politicians, celebrities, and more have recognized the city after the tragedy, gaining lots of publicity, including vigils and a benefit concert featuring celebrities like Dave Chappelle and Chance the Rapper. This attention has had an unexpected effect on the area.

“Most of the time when you have a tragedy the national media is not positive,” Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, said. “I think [the attention has] been mostly positive, which is really interesting considering this tragedy.”

Whaley thinks that a driving factor in the more uplifting responses is the reactions of the Dayton community itself.

“In the social determinants of health, there’s a thing called connectivity, and connectivity is important for you to remain healthy,” Whaley stated. “I’ve seen that in Dayton. The connectivity has been very, very strong. I think it’s what keeps us gritty and resilient. It’s amazing to see the support people have for each other and I think that’s a really healthy aspect of our community.”

Accompanying the national attention is a push for more common sense gun legislation and gun reform, a highly controversial issue. Some changes have already been put in place, including from Walmart, the site of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019.

“We are respectfully requesting that customers no longer openly carry firearms into our stores or Sam’s Clubs in states where “open carry” is permitted – unless they are authorized law enforcement officers,” Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, said in an official statement according to “We will discontinue sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber that, while commonly used in some hunting rifles, can also be used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons; We will sell through and discontinue handgun ammunition; and We will discontinue handgun sales in Alaska, marking our complete exit from handguns.”

Gun reform is being pushed in government as well. Governor Mike DeWine has proposed a 17 point plan to implement gun legislature. This plan would include background checks, school safety and intervention programs, and increased penalties for infractions, among other things, according to Overall, DeWine aims to reduce gun violence and increase mental health awareness and treatment.

Whaley is doing her part to push legislature as well.

“I’m looking at a ballot initiative, particularly around background checks, or perhaps assault weapons or high capacity magazine bans,” Whaley said on Sept. 5. “I’m going to Washington, D.C. next week to try to get the background check vote offered down to Senate. To me this is a process, I’m always trying to advocate to get change in our state and federal governments around guns.”

Some presidential candidates have reached out to Whaley after the tragedy, including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg. Additionally, approximately 150 mayors have reached out, and many other politicians have expressed their support.

According to The Straits Times, there have been more school shootings since 2000 than there were in the entire 20th century, and according to CBS, there have been more mass shootings in the US than days that have passed, the first time since 2016. With more mass shootings in the news than ever, Whaley encourages students to share their voice on the issue.

“Oakwood students have been really active in the gun violence area, more than other students across the region,” Whaley said. “I would just encourage students to get involved with March For Our Lives, Students Demand Action, and take action on this issue. You can make a difference and it can be dramatic.”

To listen to the audio of the full interview, click here.  Interview conducted on Sept. 5, 2019 at 4:30 p.m.

This article was originally published on Sept. 12, 2019 at 3:20 p.m. The article was updated with interview audio on Sept. 14, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.