Presidential Candidates React to Umpqua Mass Shooting

People take part in candle light vigil following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, on October 1. Steve Dipaola/Reuters

In the wake of the mass shooting on Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, many people worldwide took to social media to express their views, either positive or negative, about gun laws. Many of the 20 candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign joined in on the conversation.

A gunman opened fire on the campus in Roseburg around 10:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. Initial reports say the suspect, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, who was shot by officials, killed nine people and wounded several others.

Hours after the shooting, President Barack Obama made an exhausted plea to Congress, state lawmakers and local leaders to help him work toward legislative changes that would curb gun violence. The speech marked Obama's 15th appearance in front of the country after a shooting during his administration.

"I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances," he said from the White House. "But based on my experience as president, I can't guarantee that."

In their responses, the Democratic presidential candidates spoke of a need for stronger national gun laws. 

Less than two months ago, Clinton, the former secretary of state who is considered to be the general front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had called for an end to gun violence after the fatal shooting of two Virginia journalists on live TV.

Last month, O'Malley, the Democratic former governor of Maryland, unveiled a gun control proposal that calls for universal background checks on gun purchases. His plan also includes a national age requirement for handgun possession and aims to cut in half deaths from gun violence by 2025.

"What we need in order to save lives is not words, but actions," O'Malley said in September during a roundtable discussion in New York City, where he disclosed his plan.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidates offered prayers to the grieving families and friends of the victims in Oregon. Not one GOP candidate made mention of a need for gun legislation.