At a press conference this afternoon, President Obama spoke about the shooting last night at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that left nine people dead. “There’s something particularly heartbreaking about death happening in a place where we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship,” Obama said.

Obama also spoke for the need for increased gun control. “I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times,” he said. “Innocent people were hurt because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting a gun. Sometime as a country we’ll have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence doesn’t happen in other advanced counties. It doesn’t happen in other places with this frequency. It is within our power to do something about it.”

The president said he knew Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor killed during the shooting, and praised the church—“Mother Emanuel”—for its storied history.

“Mother Emanuel opened its doors to strangers who sought healing... It’s risen before from flames, earthquakes, other dark times,” Obama said. “With our prayers, our love, and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now, as a place of peace.”

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