Shortly after the victims were named, survivor of the Oregon college shooting, Shelby Wambolt, has told Sky News she believes new gun control measures will not end mass shootings in America.
Wambolt managed to escape from Roseburg’s Umpqua Community College when the shooting began in a nearby classroom.
She says she later discovered that one of those who died was a close friend.
Among the victims were three 18-year-olds Quinn Glen Cooper, Lucas Eibel and Rebecka Ann Carnes — as well as Lucero Alcaraz, 19, and 20-year-old Trevor Taylor Anspach.
The others were Jason Dale Johnson, 34, Sarena Dawn Moore, 44, Kim Saltmarsh Dietz, 59, and 67-year-old teacher Lawrence Levine, who was killed first.
They died when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer opened fire at the campus before committed suicide when police forces arrived. Mercer was a student at the college and was enrolled in the class where the attack took place.
However, Wambolt said calls by Obama for tighter regulations on gun ownership were misguided.
She said, “I know Obama got on the air and talked about gun control and I really don’t believe gun control is the problem.”
“What I’m hearing is that he (the gunman) did have mental illness and some issues but our town doesn’t have a lot of avenues for people who have mental illness,” Wambolt added.
“It is really sad because people who need help and treatment don’t get it.” She continued, “Could that have helped him? Could that have changed things? Could that have saved lives? We will never know.”
Others in the conservative hunting town of Roseburg, Oregon, also agreed with Wambolt. Resident Mary Dawson said, “I think we need more guns. More armed citizens, safer America.” Dawson, who lives across the river from the college, explained that the first thing she and her family did when they heard what was happening was grab their guns.
Meanwhile, the gunman’s British father spoke out against the nation’s gun laws, saying the massacre “would not have happened” if his son had not been able to buy so many handguns and rifles — despite the fact Chris Mercer’s neighbors’ portrayed the murderer as an enthusiastic gun collector who frequently went target shooting with his mother.
His father, Ian, said he not seen his son since he and his mother, Laurel Harper, moved to Oregon about two years ago, but said there was no “disharmony or any bitterness” between him and his son.
Obama has said that it is wrong to blame mental health issues alone. He says other countries have “angry young men” but they don’t generally have access to an arsenal of weapons when they “snap”.
He says he plans to keep talking about the gun control issue and “will politicize it.”