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Dingell: Following Charleston Shooting, Americans Should Have 'Discussion' About Access To Guns

DETROIT (WWJ) -- Additional details are emerging about a mass shooting at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina that happened on Wednesday night.

A police affidavit released on Friday accuses Dylann Roof of killing nine people -- shooting each person multiple times. He also is said to have made a "racially inflammatory statement" as he stood over an unnamed survivor.

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell told WWJ Newsradio 950 that the tragedy provides cause to "revisit" the issue of access to guns.

"How do you keep the guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, and yet people who have a legitimate right have them?," Dingell said. "I think it's a discussion that we need to have."

Thousands of people came out for a community vigil for the nine victims on Saturday. In what President Barack Obama called an "unimaginable" expression of faith, family members of the victims offered forgiveness to Roof at his video arraignment.

"I think it causes us to pause again and have the discussion," Dingell said. "If he had felony warrants on him, why did he have a gun? There are a whole ton of laws that are on the books that, quite frankly, in that instance should have kept him from having access to a gun, I suspect. We're not enforcing the existing programs."

During the video-court appearance, relatives of the victims said they have forgiven Roof -- who has been jailed on a $1-million bond.

Dingell said that while she was growing up, her father owned a gun and almost killed her family more than once.

"I lived in a home with a man who shouldn't have had access to a gun," Dingell said. "So I know what it's like to live in fear of what might happen with a gun when somebody loses it."

Roof bought the .45-caliber handgun used in the shootings at a Charleston gun store back in April. His family, in a written statement, extended its "deepest sympathy and condolences" to the families of the victims.

"We've got to raise the moral consciousness on this," Dingell said. "We've got to get people to talk about what happened when people who shouldn't have guns, have guns."

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