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Obama Visits Shooting Victims' Families


President Barack Obama with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Roseburg Mayor Larry following their meeting with families of the victims of the Oct. 1, shooting at Umpqua Community College, Oct. 9, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon.

President Barack Obama met privately Friday with the families of the eight students and one instructor gunned down at Umpqua Community College in the Western state of Oregon.

After the family meeting, Obama said the country will have to "figure out how we stop things like this from happening."

But he added, "Today is about the families, their grief and the love we feel for them."

A crowd of pro-gun protesters greeted Obama as he arrived in Oregon to console the families of victims of the mass shooting in the town of Roseburg.

Carrying signs that read "Obama Go Home" and "Nothing Trumps Our Liberty," hundreds of people greeted the president, making it clear that some in the small, conservative community did not welcome his visit or his stance on gun control.

Obama has been calling for stronger gun control laws in the aftermath of the shooting. His stance has grated on the nerves of the many gun advocates in the northwest U.S.

The October 1 shooting is among a string of mass shootings that have taken place during Obama's presidency. He has repeatedly and ever more strongly called on lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws, but to no avail.

Hours before Obama's visit on Friday, shooting incidents at two U.S. colleges left two people dead and at least three others wounded.

Later Friday, at a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, Obama gave an energetic speech promoting her work and that of the rest of the Democratic Party.

He admitted that Washington state voters might have a jaundiced view of the "other Washington" because "we've got a system that all too often rewards division."

Obama said the system "is only as good as what we put into it," calling on listeners to not only vote for Murray but to care about "referendums and ballot initiatives."

Calls for gun control

The Washington Post reported Friday that Obama is weighing measures to circumvent Congress and impose new background checks on gun buyers through executive action.

The Post said the new rule would require dealers who exceed a certain number of sales every year to be licensed and perform background checks on potential buyers.

At a news conference Thursday, Democratic Senate leaders called for an end to loopholes that allow buyers to get guns on the Internet and at gun shows without background checks.

The proposal also calls for substantial improvements to the current background check system to better screen for those who are prevented from owning guns and pushes for bans of gun sales to those convicted of domestic abuse.

Democrats are also seeking to end "straw purchases" – the practice of one person buying guns for another to evade legal restrictions. They also want better enforcement of laws against gun trafficking.