A collection of Democratic Oregon lawmakers on Friday mourned those who died during a shooting at a community college south of Portland this week while calling for new action on gun violence.
"At this moment, this horrific, this senseless act has broken hearts — every heart — here," Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Senate GOP blocks election bill, setting up filibuster face-off MORE (D-Ore.) said during a press conference in Roseburg, Ore.
Merkley, citing 45 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, said he learned of the latest one in his home county of Douglas after returning Thursday from the Capitol to a Senate office building.
"I never thought it could possibly be that my family, my extended family, my cousins, were directly affected," Merkley said, adding a great granddaughter of his cousin had died.
A vigil was held Thursday night following the shooting at Umpqua Community College earlier in the day that left 10 people dead and several more injured, according to officials.
Authorities are still piecing together details of the 26-year-old male gunman, who had several weapons and was among those dead. Reports have indicated he was reclusive and hated religion.
Umpqua was the latest in a string of mass shootings after which President Obama and Democrats renewed calls for congressional action on new gun control measures.
"For the future, it is clear that it does have to be about more than words and good intensions if this carnage is to finally end," Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Energy & Environment — High court will hear case on water rule Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks Biden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures MORE (D-Ore.) said Friday following the shooting.
"As a country, we cannot just shrug our shoulders and move on."
Wyden called for compromise regarding gun "rights and responsibilities," including among gun owners and others in Congress.
"Oregon is exactly the place to lead this conversation," Wyden said.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) suggested that lawmakers find "discreet ways to deal" with the issue.