U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated his desire Friday for stricter gun laws in the wake of a massacre Thursday morning at a community college in southwest Oregon. Speaking at a White House news conference, Obama urged people to "make sure that anybody you're voting for is on the right side of the issue."
Obama took to the podium to make a personal announcement regarding Education Secretary Arne Duncan's decision to step down in December, followed by a question and answer session. The issue of gun control was quickly brought up, and Obama urged the public to politicize gun violence and hold their elected officials accountable.
"Let’s not forget this is happening every single day in forgotten neighborhoods across the country," Obama said. "Kids are running for their lives just trying to get to school." The discussion on gun control laws was revived after a gunman fatally shot nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had a vastly different opinion, saying "stuff happens" Friday in South Carolina in response to the Oregon shootings.
— Intl. Business Times (@IBTimes) October 2, 2015
"We’re in a difficult time in our country and I don’t think more government is necessarily the answer to this. I think we need to reconnect ourselves with everybody else ...," Bush said in South Carolina, Salon reported. “But I resist the notion -- and I had this challenge as governor -- because we had -- look, stuff happens, there’s always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do,” Bush said.
In response to Bush's comments, Obama said, "I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgments based on the fact that every couple months we have a mass shooting. And they can decide whether they consider that's 'stuff happening.' "
Bush responded to the media backlash Friday night tweeting, "Liberal Dems & some in media distorted my words to advance their agenda in wake of tragedy. It's wrong. Thx to those who set record straight."
Liberal Dems & some in media distorted my words to advance their agenda in wake of tragedy. It's wrong. Thx to those who set record straight
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 2, 2015
Also at the news conference Friday, Obama said, in response to questions about Russia's presence in Syria, that he was willing to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin on moving Syria away from civil war, but only if that plan includes removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, CNN reported. He admitted that his administration's plan to train and equip opposition forces "did not work the way it was supposed to."
The president remained firm that the only solution was diplomatic. He rejected Russia's military presence in Syria and said that he did not see any concerted international support for Putin, in comparison to the 60-nation U.S.-led coalition.