(Reuters) - Fourteen people were dead and 17 others wounded after gunfire erupted at a holiday party at a social services agency in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday, sparking an intense manhunt for up to three suspects, authorities said.
REACTIONS FROM POLITICAL LEADERS:
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, A DEMOCRAT:
"The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world, and there's some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently. Common sense gun safety laws, stronger background checks and you know, for those who are concerned about terrorism of, you know, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can't get on planes but those same people who we don't allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there's nothing that we can do to stop them.
"That's a law that needs to be changed, and so you know, my hope is that we're able to contain this particular shooting and, and we don't yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is, is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal. We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events, because it doesn't happen with the same frequency in other countries."
DEMOCRATIC CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and everyone affected by the brutal attack. California will spare no effort in bringing these killers to justice.”
Brown canceled the state's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and capitol flags will be lowered to half-staff.
DEMOCRATIC NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO:
“While we are still learning more about what has happened, one thing is clear: it is well past time for federal gun control. Too many innocent lives have been cut short, and yet Congress still has not been moved to act. Here, we are all stunned and are once again calling for attention to the endless list of families who have buried their loved ones. How can we rationalize this kind of inaction as 33,000 people are killed every year in the nation due to gun-related violence?
“Congress must find the political will to act. Gun violence is an injustice against the American people, and Washington’s failure to address it is appalling and inexcusable. New York State set the example after Sandy Hook by passing the strongest gun control law in the nation. We proved the possibility. Congress must do the same.
JOSH SUGARMANN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF VIOLENCE POLICY CENTER:"While the total number of those killed and injured is not yet known, it is all too clear that one more mass shooting has been added to our nation’s ongoing, horrific toll of such attacks. None of us want to live in a country where public mass shootings are routine. Yet thanks to the NRA, its financial patrons in the gun industry, and callous policymakers who block any conceivable new policy to reduce such attacks, this is the country we now live in. While we are awaiting further details on this latest tragedy, we already know this national crisis will not end until our elected officials take action.”
U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER NANCY PELOSI:
“Today, yet another American community is reeling from the horror of gun violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of San Bernardino. As the families of the victims grieve and the survivors focus on healing, the entire American family mourns.
“Gun violence is a crisis of epidemic proportions in our nation. Congress has a moral responsibility to vote on common sense measures to prevent the daily agony of gun violence in communities across America. Enough is enough.”
Pelosi, who is from California and a long-time supporter of gun-control legislation, later told Reuters, “There has to be a prioritizing. Everybody wanted everything; they wanted an assault weapons ban, they wanted this, they wanted that. But the fact is, what will affect the most people is to have the expanded background checks to the trade shows, to the Internet.”
“We have bipartisanship. I have no doubt if it (an expanded gun sales background check bill) came to the floor, it would pass.”
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ON TWITTER:
"Praying for the victims, their families and the San Bernardino first responders in the wake of this tragic shooting."
"California shooting looks very bad. Good luck to law enforcement and God bless. This is when our police are so appreciated!"
"Praying for those impacted by the shooting in California today."
"Praying for all those victimized by the shootings in San Bernardino, California, today."
"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, and brave first responders during this unspeakable tragedy."
"My thoughts and prayers are with the shooting victims and their families in San Bernardino."
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE HILLARY CLINTON:
"I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now. -H "
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BERNIE SANDERS
"Mass shootings are becoming an almost everyday occurrence in this country. This sickening and senseless gun violence must stop."
(Compiled by Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Toni Reinhold)