WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama arrived in Oregon on Friday morning. He traveled from the Eugene airport to Roseburg in Marine One.
He is expected to bring words of comfort and sympathy to grieving families of victims of the shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College.
He will mute his message about new action against gun violence as he visits an area where firearms are popular. The White House says the visit is strictly about offering condolences.
Roseburg residents, however, have publicly said they plan to protest the visit. Protesters began to line the streets on Friday morning.
Many residents say tighter gun laws are not the solution.
Staunchly conservative Douglas County is bristling with gun owners who use their weapons for hunting, target shooting and self-protection.
Some residents who spoke to KOIN 6 were supportive of Obama’s visit. Kelly Roberts brought his kids out to Roseburg High School because he wants a chance to catch a glimpse of the president and hopes that he can “set the politics aside today. I hope that is what he does too. He is here to comfort the families and encourage them and I hope it’s not about politics.”
Another Roseburg resident, John Read, told KOIN 6 “I think it’s a privilege to be around the area when the president of our country to comes in regardless of political opinions he has been elected to the office and it is an honor and a privilege to have him come to our community for whatever reason.”
On October 1, eight Umpqua Community College students and a teacher were killed before the gunman fatally shot himself in front of his victims after he was wounded by police.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.