Virginia shooting: Barack Obama 'heartbroken' over attack, as Hillary Clinton says 'we have to do something about gun violence'

Two reporters were killed live on television in Virginia on Wednesday

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The Independent Online

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have spoken of their heartbreak and anger over the latest shooting to grip America – and vowed to campaign for better gun control.

The US president commented on Wednesday evening following the shooting of 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, live on local news channel WDBJ7 that morning.

Mr Obama said “it breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kinds of incidents." He appealed to the American people to lobby for change, and claimed it was Congress that had halted his known desire to limit the availablity of guns, previously expressed as the "greatest frustration" of his presidency.

"What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism," he added.

It appears that the gunman, identified as 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, legally bought the Glock 9 at a local Virginia shop in the weeks ahead of the attack.

Mr Obama’s comments shadow that of democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said she was “heartbroken” over the attack and expressed her hope that this incident was “what it will finally take for us to act.”

Ms Clinton, who is mounting her second attempt to reach the White House, said there was a need to “balance the legitimate second amendment rights with preventative measures and control measures” towards the sale of firearms.

There is almost one gun in circulation for every US citizen and, according to data the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the US’s annual gun homicide rate (of 2.97 fatalities per 100,000 people) is triple that of most wealthy nations.

The comments follow those of Ms Parker's father Andy, who told Fox News on Wednesday his  "mission in life" is to "shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don’t get guns."