A week after a gunman killed nine people and himself at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, President Barack Obama met with survivors and grieving families behind closed doors on Friday.
“There are gonna be moments as we go forward where we’re gonna have to come together and figure out how do we stop things like this from happening,” Obama said in brief remarks after meeting with families. “I’ve got very strong feelings about this because when you talk to the families you are reminded this could be your child … or your mom or your dad or your relative or your friend,”
Even before the President set foot in Oregon on Friday, news broke of two other campus shootings — leaving one dead and three wounded at Northern Arizona University, as well as one dead in an apartment complex near Texas Southern University.
Obama has been clear where he stands on gun control. Following last week’s tragedy, he gave his 15th response to a mass shooting since taking office, blasting Congress for its unwillingness to act on gun control and saying gun violence is something that should be politicized.
These latest remarks advocating for stricter gun control laws are causing problems for many in the small conservative town of Roseburg, who disagree with the President on gun control and don’t want him to visit.
Gun rights activists created a Facebook page with more than 8,000 supporters entitled, “Defend Roseburg, Deny Barack Obama,” arranging a protest of the President’s visit that includes two peaceful pro-gun events.
The rhetoric leading up to the President’s trip became so heated, local Roseburg officials issued a statement that the President was welcome and would be extended “every courtesy.”
Obama didn’t mention any of that tension in his brief remarks. The White House stressed that the trip will not be about politics but about “consoling the families of those who were so profoundly affected by that tragedy.”
Obama is also doing several fundraisers while on the West Coast, including stops in Washington and California.