US President Barack Obama was met by more than 200 gun rights supporters as he arrived in Oregon to meet with families and survivors of the Umpqua Community College shooting. Wielding placards that read "Obama Go Home" and "Gun Free Zones Are For Sitting Ducks", the activists –many of them sporting holstered handguns- were protesting Barack Obama's visit and his call for stricter gun laws.
The protesters gathered outside Roseburg airport as the President left a helicopter and was driven to the scene of the high school massacre in his motorcade. Mr Obama met privately with family members at Roseburg High School where the 26-year-old gunman went on a shooting rampage. After the hour long meeting he told reporters he had "strong feelings" about the issue of gun control and said the country needed to come together to prevent such shootings from happening in the future.
"There are going to be moments as we go forward where we have to come together and figure out how we stop this from happening," said the President. "I have very strong feelings because when I talk to these families, you're reminded that this could be your child, your mum, your relative or your friend."
Many residents in the conservative community were angered by the President's comments made within hours of the 1 October shooting in which eight students and a teacher were shot dead. The gunman, 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer, killed himself after officers arrived at the scene In his remarks last week, the President said would continue to raise the need for gun control reform every time a shooting takes place in the US.
In his remarks last week, the President said would continue to raise the need for gun control reform every time a shooting takes place in the US. "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," he said. "We collectively are answerable to those families because of our inaction."
Demonstrator George Starr said: "By coming here, Obama is going to politicise a tragedy by saying that you have to have gun control. It's not that we are bloodthirsty, it's that we want to protect ourselves and our families."
President Obama's visit to Oregon comes following reports of a second shooting in the space of twelve hours at the Texas Southern University, which left one 18-year-old student dead and another injured. Two suspects are in police custody in connection with the shooting.