ROSEBURG, Ore. (KOIN) — President Barack Obama will visit Roseburg on Friday, just a little over a week after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College, killing 9 and injuring several others.
The president will meet privately with families of the shooting victims.
Just hours after the shooting occurred on October 1, President Obama addressed the nation in his 15th White House press briefing on the subject of mass shootings.
“Somehow this has become routine,” the president said in his address. “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have common sense on gun safety laws.”
Roseburg residents are divided on whether President Obama should come to the area.
“I think it’s something that’s needed for the parents of the children that lost their lives to have our top man, our president, come and talk to them,” said Jean Wiles.
But Rick Sund disagrees and said Obama should not come.
“His announcement he made about gun control and the way that coming off the first thing he said, instead of saying sorry for the families, I think it was just wrong,” Sund told KOIN 6 News. “I think he needs to stay in Washington and try and take care of the world problems.”
He was most upset with the president’s statements about gun control. He wanted the focus to be on the families. “I just didn’t have any respect for him.”
But Tom Fugate, who doesn’t “agree with all his political stuff,” said it is nice the President of the United States is coming to Roseburg to “is nice for the families.”
Obama, he said. “is coming into an area here where I would guess 99% of us have guns and hunt. So he’s coming into kind of a lions den in that area. And most of those kids that go out there are from hunting families.”‘Political choice we make’
The president urged Americans who use guns safely to hunt, for sport and to protect their families to think about whether their views are being represented fairly in government.
“This is a political choice we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” he said. “We are collectively answerable to those families who lose their loved ones.”
Umpqua Community College reopened for grief counseling on Monday, although classes will not resume until October 12.
“It is not business as usual for us right now,” UCC President Rita Cavin said.
Throughout the weekend, residents of Roseburg and nearby communities banded together to show support for those impacted by the senseless tragedy.
At a church service on Sunday, local pastor Randy Scroggins said the community has “come together with strength and courage and compassion. As if to say, ‘we will not be defined by violence’ …Violence will not have the last word in Roseburg.”
President Obama’s trip to Roseburg marks the start of his 4-day trip along the West Coast. Further details on the visit have not been released.