SAN FRANCISCO - US Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton issued an impassioned call for gun control Saturday following a "senseless" church massacre that stunned the nation.
In a speech delivered at a gathering of US mayors in San Francisco, the former first lady said the time has come for "common sense gun reforms" to help put an end to the recurring shooting tragedies that erupt with shocking frequency in the United States.
Clinton, who is running for the 2016 Democratic nomination, said the most recent spasm of gun violence left the nation "struggling once again to make sense of violence that is fundamentally senseless." "I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law-abiding communities," she told the gathering.
"But I also know that we can have common sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable, while representing responsible gun owner." Clinton, a former US secretary of state and ex-senator, also said she shared the grief experienced by relatives of the nine black church members gunned down late Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina.
"As a mother, grandmother, a human being - just as a fellow human being - my heart is bursting for them, for these victims and their families, for a wounded community, and a wounded church," she told the US Conference of Mayors gathering.
Clinton also expressed sadness "for our country struggling once again to make sense of violence that is fundamentally senseless - and a history that we desperately want to leave behind." The American and South Carolina state flags were flown at half-staff after the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church.
Dylann Storm Roof, 21, from a small town outside Columbia, was apprehended the next day in North Carolina.
He is currently in solitary confinement in Charleston, charged with the murders.