President Barack Obama will visit the grieving families who lost loved ones during the Umqua Community College mass shooting. The president is scheduled to meet privately with the victims’ families on Friday, Oct. 9.
Last Thursday, Oct. 1, a gunman named Christopher-Harper Mercer killed nine people on the Oregon college campus and wounded nine others. He allegedly selected his targets based on their religion, according to Daily Mail.
The Washington Post reports that Obama will travel to Roseburg, Oregon, on Friday to speak with the bereaved. The White House announced the visit, which will occur during a fundraising tour of the west coast that had already been scheduled for the president.
Obama has pressured congress to enforce stricter gun laws in the wake of the Umqua massacre. CNN reports that during a press conference held on the day of the shootings, the president somberly remarked that “somehow this has become routine.”
The president’s trip has been met with resistance by some Roseburg locals. Daily Mail reports that David Jaques, who publishes a local newspaper called Roseburg Beacon, says that Obama is “not welcome” in his town, claiming that the president will only come to “grandstand for political purposes.
“His visit here isn’t a re-election campaign stop, but it is a campaign stop for an agenda that he and his associates believe is important,” says Jaques. “And that is to take away Americans right to firearms.”
Politico reports that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has also criticized Obama’s planned visit. The retired neurosurgeon told “Fox and Friends” that he would not have visited the victims’ families if he were president, arguing that it only politicizes a tragedy.
“When do we get to the point where we have people who actually want to solve our problems rather than just politicize everything?” Carson bemoans. “I think that’s what the American people are so sick and tired of."
Politico reports that Obama has met with the families of mass shooting victims throughout his presidency, including those affected by mass shootings. These include families impacted by the Charleston, Aurora and Newtown massacres.