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Grassley Warns Against Turning South Carolina Shootings Into Gun-Control Push

"For now, our focus should be on the victims' families, Charleston and South Carolina and helping them through this tragedy," the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee tells BuzzFeed News.

Posted on June 18, 2015, at 7:17 p.m. ET

Drew Angerer / Getty

WASHINGTON β€” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley Thursday warned against turning the attack on a South Carolina church that left nine people dead into a politicized push for gun control, arguing there is "ample time" to address the issue in the future.

In response to President Obama's call for new gun control legislation, Grassley, whose committee has jurisdiction over gun control issues, told BuzzFeed News that this is not a time for political fights over guns.

"The Bill of Rights is a core set of liberties and freedoms, none greater than the other, but all of importance in their own right … but nobody wants to see gun violence in our society," Grassley said.

"The question remains how we keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them without violating the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans. There's ample time to learn more about what happened yesterday and debate ways to prevent these kinds of senseless acts. But for now, our focus should be on the victims' families, Charleston and South Carolina and helping them through this tragedy," he added.

In comments on the attack Thursday morning, Obama explicitly criticized the nation's gun laws. "Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun," Obama said, adding "at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it."

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