Roseburg, OR – Holding signs saying the president was not welcome, more than 200 gun-rights activists protested Barack Obama’s visit on Friday to Oregon to meet with the families of victims of last week’s campus killings.
The protesters stood outside Roseburg airport as Obama left a helicopter and got into a limousine that whisked him away for the private conversations at a high school.
The protesters were angry about Obama’s calls for gun restrictions in the wake of the shooting rampage that killed eight students and a teacher at Umpqua Community College.
Some of the protesters carried holstered handguns. Others had signs saying Obama was not welcome.
“By coming here, Obama is going to politicize a tragedy by saying that you have to have gun control,” George Starr said as he held a small American flag.
“It’s not that we are bloodthirsty, it’s that we want to protect ourselves and our families,” he said.
The attitude is shared by many people in the conservative region where it is common for residents to own guns for hunting, target shooting and self-protection.
“I’m here to tell Obama he is not welcome in our county. He is exploiting the local tragedy with his gun control agenda,” said Bruce Rester, a retired truck driver who was wearing a handgun in a holster over his chest.
“Everybody should carry a gun. An armed society is a polite society,” he said.