Four days after President Obama called for tighter gun control, the White House on Monday announced he will visit Roseburg on Friday to meet privately with families of the victims of the Umpqua Community College shooting.
A gunman killed nine people, and himself, and injured nine others in Thursday’s shooting, prompting Obama’s renewed push for added firearms measures.
No further details about the president’s plans in Oregon were made available immediately, but more information will be released later in the week, a White House official said. During his presidency, Obama has often visited the sites of mass shootings in their aftermath.
Obama already was scheduled to be on the West Coast this week, for a four-day trip.
On Friday, he is scheduled to attend a fundraising luncheon in Seattle with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, the Washington state Democrat.
He’s also attending fundraisers in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the visit.
Obama previously traveled to Roseburg in 2008 while on the presidential campaign trail.
Obama referred to that visit during his speech after the mass shooting on Thursday, saying “there are really good people” in Roseburg.
In that address, Obama condemned the shooting as an event too familiar.
“Somehow, this has become routine,” he said from the White House. “The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation and the aftermath of it, we’ve become numb to this.”
Obama used that initial speech to call for new gun laws to help prevent future mass shootings.
“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 because of our inaction.”
Societal responsibilities include fixing dangerous roads and responding to life-threatening natural disasters, he argued, and gun control is no different.
He made no specific proposal, however.
Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich said Monday that it would be “great” to have the president visit after a shooting that has rocked the community.
“He’s our president,” he said.
“It shows that we’re all in this together, that we’re all grieving this together.”
However, David Jaques, publisher of the Roseburg Beacon, a small weekly newspaper, has drawn attention in conservative-leaning media in recent days for pre-emptively saying that Obama isn’t welcome in Roseburg, which he describes as a conservative community.
In one interview, Jaques said that Obama “has no connection” with Roseburg or the victims’ families and that a visit would be “a campaign stop for an agenda... to take away Americans’ right to own firearms.”
In an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, Jaques claimed that his view was shared by “dozens upon dozens of citizens, some family members of victims and elected officials.”
“Now (Obama) wants to come to our community and stand on the corpses of our loved ones to make some kind of political point, and it isn’t going to be well-received,” he said in that interview.