Gun rights groups Thursday slammed President Barack Obama for using the Oregon community college shooting to push for more gun control, with Dave Dalton of the American Gun Owners Alliance telling Newsmax that "I literally screamed at the TV set" as the president spoke.
Dalton said he was particularly incensed at Obama's remark that " 'it's just too easy to get a gun' without having any knowledge of the facts.
"They don't have any facts about the situation," he added. "How the person got the gun? What the person's mental capabilities were? Were they unstable? It's always, 'It's too easy to get a gun.'"
"How is it too easy to get a gun?" Dalton asked. "What more would they like besides an FBI background check? Is it mental records? Possibly.
"Nothing short of thought-policing is going to stop these kind of people."
At least 13 people and as many as 20 others were killed in the shootings at Umpqua Community College, about 180 miles south of Portland, which began shortly after 10:30 a.m.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said
the gunman was slain in an exchange of gunfire with police officers in a campus building.
At the White House,
Obama said that the shootings further illustrated the need for more gun control.
"As I said just a few months ago, and I said just a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough."
Erich Pratt of the Gun Owners of America attacked Obama for "instantly" turning the tragedy into "a political opportunity." Based in Springfield, Va., the group has a million members.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and their families," Pratt told Newsmax. "This is a very tragic day, and all Americans are mourning with the residents of Oregon.
"But we find it offensive to hear the White House use a tragedy like this, and instantly turn it into a political opportunity," he added. "The White House is calling for 'common-sense' gun control, which is insane, given that the criminally-minded don't obey the law."
Dalton, who group is based in Mountainhome, Pa., and has about 7.500 members, said the debate should focus on improving mental-health services. Pratt urged the elimination of gun-free zones.
"What more can you do — and why are we still focusing on a piece of hardware?" Dalton asked. "I can kill somebody with a baseball bat. I can kill somebody with a shovel, a rake. Anything.
"People go out and drive drunk and kill people. Do you ban cars?
"What is driving all of these young kids to kill?" he asked. "Why do 20-year-old men feel the need to go out kill multiple people? Is it that the media is going to plaster their names and faces all over the place, or they know they’re going to get a page on Wikipedia?
"Is it that kind of a sick mentality? You really have to wonder."
Pratt noted that nearly every public shooting since 1950 had occurred in a gun-free zone, as was the case at the Oregon community college.
The organization has long supported positions by police that such attacks could be thwarted if "potential victims were not disarmed," he said.
Pratt referenced a December 2012 shooting at the Clackamas Town Center shopping mall is suburban Portland.
At 3:28 p.m., Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, ran into the mall and began firing on shoppers
with a stolen AR-15 rifle. He killed two people and injured a third.
Roberts later killed himself on a stairwell after facing off with Nick Meli, also 22, of Portland, who was carrying a concealed Glock 22 pistol.
Meli had a concealed carry permit. The Clackamas Town Center is a gun-free zone.
"Apparently, we have not learned the lesson of the 2012 shooting in Oregon," Pratt told Newsmax. "Nick Meli was breaking the 'no guns policy' at the mall, but there are many survivors who are glad he did."
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