John Legend Comforts Dayton Survivors, Slams NRA And Preaches Gun Reform At News Conference in Ohio
Over the weekend, Ohio native and Grammy Award-winning singer John Legend visited Dayton, Ohio, to comfort the survivors of the recent mass shooting and pushed for gun reform in a speech on Sunday. He also held a surprise concert for the families of shooting victims according to reports this week.
"I just played a few songs to try to help bring comfort to some of the survivors of last week's tragedy in Dayton," he wrote on Instagram. "My heart breaks for everyone who lost someone. I love how everyone rallies around one another during their time of grief. But our nation should not keep putting ourselves through these preventable traumas."
The musician is a native of Springfield, Ohio, about 30 minutes northeast of Dayton. He performed on Sunday at Blind Bob's Bar in Dayton's Oregon District, the area where the August 4 shooting occurred.
Legend shared more of his weekend on Twitter, posting photos of meet-and-greets with local business owners and residents and saying: "I sat down with the people of Dayton, OH and I'm inspired by their strength & resilience, but we must take action. Join me, @Everytown & @MomsDemand by calling your senators & demanding they vote on stronger gun safety laws: Text CHECKS to 644-33."
In a press conference with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) earlier that day, the singer stressed the need for gun reform. "We see the images of grieving families. We meet them. We feel like there's nothing that we can do," said Legend. "But giving up is really not an option. We have to be able to live without the fear of being shot."
He criticized the National Rifle Association (NRA) for seeming to represent gun manufacturers rather than the owners themselves — and for seeming to fail to consider the safety of the American people.
"They really represent gun manufacturers. People who make money off of selling guns," said Legend. "So, they want us to believe that the way we solve this problem is to arm people even more. 'More people need guns. Teachers need guns. We need guns everywhere. Everybody's got to have a gun to protect each other from everyone else's guns.' But we're just escalating the violence. Escalating the fact that we're armed to the teeth. And we're not making anybody safer."
Legend cited Australia's gun restriction laws — the first of which was passed after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre that left 35 dead — as an example of reform that was implemented after a mass shooting.
Nine people were killed and dozens injured in the Dayton shooting, which occurred a day after another mass shooting in El Paso, Texas where 22 people were killed.