Obama cites gun culture as he remembers the nine killed in race attack on church

President Barack Obama mourned the loss today of the nine lives claimed last night at a Charleston, South Carolina, church by a shooter.

Among those killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal was the church’s minister, Clementa Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator. Obama said Pinckney was a friend of his and First Lady Michelle Obama’s and expressed ‘deep sorrow over the senseless murders.’

‘I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,’ he said. ‘Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.’

Calling for a shift in America’s gun culture, Obama said that ‘once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.’

‘Now is the time for mourning and for healing,’ the president continued. But at ‘some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.

‘It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,’ he said. ‘And it is in our power to do something about it.

Obama said he recognizes that the politics of Washington ‘foreclose a lot of those avenues right now ‘for new restrictions on gun sales, ‘but it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge that there’s a problem.

‘And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it,’ he said.

The country will eventually have ‘to shift how we think abut gun violence collectively,’ he stated.

Echoing the president, Joe Biden said this afternoon, ‘We have no doubt the coward who committed this heinous act will be brought to justice.

‘But as a nation we must confront the ravages of gun violence and the stain of hatred that continues to be visited on our streets, in our schools, in our houses of worship, and in our communities,’ the vice president said in a statement released by the White House.

Dylann Roof, the suspect now in police custody, reportedly received a gun as a gift for his 21st birthday in April.

His uncle, Carson Cowles, told Reuters that Roof’s father gave him a .45-caliber pistol for the occasion.

‘Nobody in my family had seen anything like this coming,’ he said.

Gun control advocates have long argued that federal law should be changed to disallow guns from being purchased by one person and given as gifts to another person in order to force the intended owner of the firearm to submit to a mandatory background check.

It was not immediately clear what type of firearm was used in last night’s shooting, but it was thought to be a handgun.

Source: The DailyMail

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