Local leaders renew gun control debate after SC church shooting

Could the latest tragedy finally change laws?

Police stand outside the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Events such as Sandy Hook and the Aurora, Colorade movie theater shooting have brought up the gun control debate; but could this latest tragedy finally change laws?

Shortly after 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof was arrested Thursday, President Obama spoke from the White House Briefing Room expressing his anger and sadness at the Charleston church shooting that killed nine people.

“Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm, had no trouble on getting their hands on a gun,” President Obama said.

Some agree with the president.

“We need collective reasoning. We need a new approach and new thinking on what’s happening in America with guns and he’s right,” Rep. Michael Chippendale (R-RI) of Foster, Coventry, Glocester said.

Rep. Chippendale said what happened in the Charleston church was not about controlling guns, it was about a senseless act motivated by pure hatred.

“The availability of a firearm is not what made that individual, who in my opinion, has a sick mind and is probably going to be at some point deemed to be mentally deficient in one way or another. It’s not going to stop people like that from perpetrating horrible disgusting acts like we saw yesterday.”

While Rhode Island did enact a law this year that aims to prevent gun sales to those with severe mental illness, Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence President Jerry Belair believes more can be done to protect our safety.

“We limit the number of rounds in deer hunting to five. We limit the number of rounds in duck hunting to three so that we can protect our wildlife but we don’t limit the number of rounds to protect our kids and our citizens. It makes no sense,” Belair said.

Belair also said South Carolina is very weak on its gun laws. CBS News is reporting Roof’s father bought him a .45 caliber gun for his birthday.

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