The latest mass shooting has gun control advocates — including President Barack Obama — calling for stricter laws on gun ownership, but the people of Roseburg, Oregon, where the shooting took place, are moving more toward more guns — not fewer.
Nine people were killed and nine injured in the Thursday shooting at Umpqua Community College by a gunman who then killed himself. Obama said the same day he would not apologize for politicizing the incident and would take measures to enact executive actions on guns.
But rural Roseburg has long been known as a conservative, Second Amendement-loving enclave. When Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy spoke there in 1968 in favor of gun control he was met with protests
and signs reading, "Protect Your Right to Keep & Bear Arms."
Roseburg residents by and large haven't changed. In the aftermath of the shooting, many who aren't already armed are considering doing so now — including some Umpqua students, The New York Times
Nineteen-year-old J.J. Vicari was in the classroom next to the one where the shootings occurred.
"It's opened my eyes," Vicari told the Times. "I want to have a gun in the house to protect myself, to protect the people I'm with. I'm sure I'll have a normal life and never have to go through anything like this, but I want to be sure."
Obama plans to visit Roseburg on Friday, a move Roseburg Beacon publisher David Jaques and Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice have opposed.
"If he wants to come to our community and stand on the corpses of our loved ones to make some kind of a political point, it isn't going to be well-received, not by our people, not by the families," Jaques said Monday on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."
But others have disagreed with that sentiment and said they welcome Obama's visit as long as he doesn't make it political. They include Mayor Larry Rich and City Council President Tom Ryan.
Ashley Schmidt, 28, also was in the classroom next to the shooting and told the Times she'd like to see guns regulated like automobiles are.
"I've always felt like there is nothing I can do," she said. "But I see this country falling apart."
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