NJ gun groups: Obama’s wrong to ‘politicize’ Oregon mass shooting
Is the day of a mass shooting too early to have a political gun rights debate?
No, President Barack Obama says. But There's more of a mixed response in New Jersey.
Speaking in the White House briefing room Thursday following the shooting at Umpqua Community College where Chris Harper Mercer killed several people before being shot dead by police, an angry Obama noted the situation was familiar — he'd been before reporters to pass on his condolences to the families and friends of people killed in Mass shootings several times before.
"This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together. This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction," he said.
But Alexander Roubian, president of the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, said Obama "should be apologizing to America instead of calling for more laws."
"If he really believes in the strength of his convictions that disarmed schools are safer and better off ... then he would disarm the White House," Roubian said.
Roubian said that Harper should never have had a gun. The NJ2AS always advocates for firearm safety and making sure that convicted felons and the mentally ill should not have firearms.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Umpqua community, but we know by now that's not enough. It’s long past time for our leaders to act," New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action, a group calling for new federal gun control laws, posted on its Facebook page. "Every day 88 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are injured."
The group encouraged people troubled by the Oregon shooting to join its efforts, and thanked Obama for his statements in a separate post.
Rick Friedman, one of the owners of RTSP shooting range in Randolph, said that Obama's comments — made several hours after word of the shooting — were premature.
"There's a lot of rules in place. (Umpqua Community College) was a gun free zone and (Harper) didn't follow that rule. Murder is illegal and (Harper) didn't follow that rule. Laws are in place for those who are willing to follow them. If they're not willing to follow them I don't know what other laws are going to have the effect they desire," he said.
He said that no one on either side of the gun rights debate is happy is pleased that a shooting occurred.
New Jersey's six Congressional Democrats added their signatures along with 147 other House members on Thursday calling for legislation that can "protect innocent lives while safeguarding the rights of law-abiding gun owners."
"No legislation will stop every tragedy, but passing common sense gun laws will at least stop some," reads the letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "It is the least we can do to honor the memory of those we've lost to gun violence and prevent that list from growing."