By Amanda Becker
(Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Thursday after a deadly shooting at a historic African-American church in South Carolina that the United States must face "hard truths" about race and gun violence.
"We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division," Clinton said at the beginning of scheduled remarks at the annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference in Las Vegas.
"How many innocent people in our country from little children, church members to movie theater attendees, how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" Clinton asked.
Clinton was responding to the shooting late Wednesday at a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that left nine dead. She was also referring to the 20 children and six adults killed during the 2012 shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and a rampage at a Colorado movie theater the same year that left 12 dead.
"So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together," Clinton said.
"I pledge to you I will work with you," Clinton told the room of elected officials. "Let's unite in partnership, not just to talk but to act."
Clinton has a second campaign stop in Nevada on Thursday at a veterans' center in Reno.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker in Washington; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis)