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Reverend Clementa Pinckney (courtesy

Drawing attention to the fact that Reverend Clementa Pinckney [above] – the pastor murdered in the Charleston church massacre  – was a gun control advocate is bound to anger his family, friends and like-minded colleagues. Suggesting that his crusade for gun control may have contributed to his death will no doubt be seen as adding insult to injury. But is it true? The first part of that statement certainly is . . .

In 2013, Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina State Senator, introduced legislation to require more comprehensive background checks on gun sales and supported several other gun safety measures during his career as a legislator.

That’s‘s statement of fact (setting aside the use of the propagandistic term “gun safety”). Also a fact: South Carolina law prohibits concealed or open carry by lawful gun owners within a church or other place of worship – unless the church’s owners give members the right to do so. Which leads us to conjecture . . .

We don’t yet know if the Emanuel A.M.E. church attacked this week allows members to carry a firearm on the premises. But judging from Reverend Pickney’s support for gun control and his position within the church, the odds are against it. If so, if he agreed with this policy, is he somehow culpable for his own death?

The obvious answer: no. The only man who bears direct responsibility for Pinckney’s murder – and the murder of eight other innocent lives – is Dylann Roof. The deranged, racist gunman. Still, you can see where NRA Board Member Charles L. Cotton was coming from when he wrote (on a forum):


As an NRA Board member, perhaps Mr. Cotton should have let the NRA speak for him on this matter. Then again, the NRA’s policy of staying stum after headline shootings is aggravating to those of us who want to see the anti-gun media narrative – more gun control! – countered during “the golden 24 hours” of the news cycle. Not to mention the fact that Cotton is a plain-talking Texan.

Anyway, the question remains: is Cotton right? Again, does Pinckney bear some responsibility for his own death and, dare I say it, the death of eight of his congregants?

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  1. No. Any responsibility rests soley on the whack job who shot everyone. I get to carry at my church. If I wasn’t allowed to, I’d find a different church.

    • No. A thousand times no. No one bears the responsibility for his own murder. Please stop this runaway train now.

      • First of all, no. The only person responsible for the murders is the punk ass bitch who killed them to try to start a race war.

        As for stopping the runaway train – we can’t. Not with how Farago phrased his opinion. That train has left us far behind.

    • No. He is not in any way responsible for the fact that he was murdered.

      HOWEVER. He is responsible for the fact that he was unable to defend himself, and he is responsible for the fact that his parishioners couldn’t defend themselves.

      It’s the same theory as when a college girl goes to a party, gets drunk, and gets raped. She’s not responsible for the rape, but she’s responsible for putting herself in a risky situation where she could not appropriately defend herself.

      • Bingo.

        A shooting – or any serious crime – has a totality of circumstances. This shooting was caused by the psychopath A-hole D. Roof. It was exacerbated by the fact that it occurred in a Gun Free Zone.

        Anyone who starts a shooting in our church under similar circumstances will quickly be met with armed defenders. The initial shooting will be caused by the shooter, and the shooting will be mitgated by undercover armed security.

        If I “couldn’t” carry a gun (or two) in my church I’d find a different one. Alternatively, I tend to ignore “No Guns” signs. A Gun Free Zone is just wishful thinking – dangerously naive wishful thinking. I figure they aren’t serious unless they have metal detectors, and even those aren’t a guarantee.

        Prisons have metal detectors and armed guards, yet weapons and murders tend to still happen. The White House has armed security and allowed an unauthorized whack job to enter. The security I trust the most is my own.

        So yes, having an anti-gun prohibition / anti-gun philosophy is a form of ignorance that may very well have made this shooting worse. I can’t prevent a shooting from occurring, but if one occurs I can mount a better defense than running and hiding

    • You have no control over an unknown killer coming into your public arena, however you do control whether you have means to protect yourself.
      Blame evil, but prepare for it. Fail to prepare and to ignore evil has deadly consequences.

    • Yep, well said. In a free society nobody should be “at fault” when they are murdered by a scum-bag, deranged, killer. That’s expecting victims to bear part of the guilt for the tragedy and it’s something that is quite wrong. We become less free when we do that. On the other hand, I absolutely believe that if there had been one armed church member present, the killer could have been stopped. That person would have undoubtedly incurred the wrath of the deceased minister but he’d at least be alive to make the complaint.

    • Unless God puts a bullet-proof shield over all the congregants, they still bear a certain responsibility for their own protection.
      There is a difference between being Directly Responsible and Indirectly Responsible.
      It is obvious to me that the shooter is the only one Directly Responsible, but ALL of the congregants bear a certain amount of Indirect Responsibility.
      If the situation had been a natural disaster like a tornado while they were all living in Tornado Alley and they voted not to have a Tornado Shelter for their church and a massive twister came by and wiped out the church and everyone in it, who would be responsible?
      Certainly not God.
      God has promised no one that he will protect them from bullets.
      You were given the gift of life from God, but you ultimately bear responsibility and the right for protecting that life.
      Most christian denominations advocating a passive form of christianity that deny their RESPONSIBILITY to protect their own lives would deny you and me the RIGHT to protect ours.
      As they say, “you reap what you sew.”

  2. Come on now……we ALL know the gun is to blame. The shooter sat in a church for an hour…….while the evil gun® egged him on from his pocket, till he couldn’t handle it any longer.

    • He sat for an hour because his trainers programmed him to sit for an hour. The MK Ultra boys aren’t even trying to hide this stuff any more.

  3. Yes, if he encouraged upholding the laws of the land and supported The Constitution and Civil Liberties there is the possibility that someone in his congregation could have given the shooter a dirt nap and saved lives.

    Every time someone preaches the destruction of The Constitution it increases the risk of not being defended by that liberty and freedom.
    It is a tragedy that could have been avoided by only one person being prepared and responsible.
    It does show that this was a church of man.

    • Someone else with a gun would not have stopped him. His goal was to kill the pastor and everyone else would be a bonus. Would it have save lives. Yes. Chances are there would have been 2 deaths. The pastor and the racist insane dirtbag. The interesting part is that if that occurred, the tinderbox of racial animosity in Charleston almost certainky would have exploded. Possibly attaining his goal of a racial war. But since he was too successful. I dont think that would happen.

      • “Someone else with a gun would not have stopped him.”

        That’s quite a statement. It also relies on the assumption that the asshole’s marksmanship was perfect, such that the first few seconds of fire would’ve produced immediate fatalities.

        I’m just really curious how you come to the conclusion that a good person with a gun on the scene would not have stopped him? Being shot dead by the good guy is kind of included in the definition of being “stopped”.

        • Moreover, it’s reported that he reloaded 5 times. So:
          1 in the chamber
          7 in the original mag
          7 reload 1
          7 reload 2
          7 reload 3
          7 reload 4
          7 reload 5

          43 rounds divided by
          9 victims
          4.8 rounds per victim average

          This guy needs more range time. Even the slowest of us should have been on-target and landed distracting shots before he killed his second victim.

  4. I don’t think his position had anything to do with what happened. Mental illness is responsible.

  5. Yes, he bears some responsibility. Even if he never officially stated, “No guns in my church,” (and I’m willing to bet he did, but it’ll be buried) it’s a realistic and reasonable assumption that he would have said such a thing.

    I pray it never happens, but if I am ever involved in a shooting while in a gun free zone, I (or my surviving family) will come after the person responsible for disarming me. They are just as responsible as the aggressor, in my opinion.

    • And in my line of work, avoiding gun free zones is not an option for me. I am in a courthouse almost every day. Best I can legally get by with is a self defense pen, in many cases.

  6. On one hand we say the person responsible for the deaths is the killer. On the other we talk about personal responsibility for the protection of ourselves and our loved ones. Is this double talk? I’m not sure.

    • By analogy, I reason as follows. Suppose:
      – I am a businessman;
      – I have a primary objective, to maximize my profit;
      – I am exposed to a risk – (say) of fire;
      – I buy fire insurance – I consider my problem solved;
      – any additional expense (fire extinguishers, fire alarm, sprinkler system) reduces my profit
      – Conclusion: strategy is optimized by insurance alone.

      So, all (or most) businessmen pursue the same policy of maximizing individual profit. For want of feasible complementary measures (extinguishers, alarm, sprinkler) aggregate losses to society are higher. I suffer a fire loss not entirely covered by insurance. Death or injury to employees or customers. Total insurance company losses are higher, so premiums go up to all businessmen so situated. Premium increases work their way into the prices of all products sold by these businesses.

      Am I blameworthy? Or, is it only an arsonist who is to blame? Alternatively, perhaps a careless person who disposed of a lit cigarette?

      Now, introduce another agent in the decision-maling process. Suppose I am a manager reportable to “Corporate”. There, a decision is made to bar me from buying fire extinguishers, etc. Or, alternatively, suppose my local fire marshall requires that IF I buy fire extinguishers they must be of an expensive type that I don’t need; so, I don’t buy them at all. Or, if I get an alarm the fire department won’t grant me a direct connection to their response console. Suppose the legislature dictates that I must do nothing to protect my property; I’m to rely exclusively on the fire department.

      Our modern institutions have diluted responsibility by defusing the decision making process in a way that leaves no one obviously responsible. No one – the store manager, corporate supervisor, fire marshal, fire department or legislature – is responsible for the decision that allowed the risk to go unmitigated.

      I argue we are making a mistake by focusing on the arsonist/smoker to the exclusion of anyone else in the decision-making process.

      • “Our modern institutions have diluted responsibility by defusing the decision making process in a way that leaves no one obviously responsible”.

        Well stated…”dilution of responsibility of the decision” explains both our political process and group think in the decision process. The bigger question is why do we allow group think decide what is an individual decision to lawful self protect. Even greater construct is why government thinks it should make that decision for you.

    • The killer is responsible for his actions and the victim is responsible for theirs. There is no overlap of responsibility or contradiction.

    • “On one hand we say the person responsible for the deaths is the killer. On the other we talk about personal responsibility for the protection of ourselves and our loved ones. Is this double talk? I’m not sure.”

      No, Omer, it isn’t double talk. Responsibility is not summative; there isn’t X amount of responsibility that gets divided around.

      When I was a lifeguard, I was 100% responsible for all lives under my protection. But if someone dove into a river just upstream from a snag (tree in the river), that someone was also 100% responsible for the stupid move. Sure, that’s 200% responsibility, but you can’t add them: each person is 100% responsible for his or her own actions.

      So if we say the abuser of firearms was 100% responsible for the deaths, we are actually saying that he is 100% responsible for his own actions. That has no bearing on the actions of others and their responsibility for those actions; it would be perfectly legitimate to hold that by choosing to insist that no one be able to defend against a firearms abuser, the pastor is also 100% responsible for those deaths.

      I think the idea of dividing responsibility in such cases results from the arguments over whose fault it was that mom’s cookie jar got broken, where the goal is to put blame on anyone but one’s own self. My grandmother refused to play that game; if my older brother told me how to do something wrong ad I did it, she put 100% blame on both of us for the result She showed the way out of the “Who’s to blame?” dilemma by focusing on personal responsibility, and insisting that we are each 100% responsible for our own actions and what comes of them.

    • I just got an email from “faithful America” asking me to sign their petition for this NRA board member to be removed.

      I wrote back that the scripture instructs us that the watchman who does not protect his flock is as guilty as the predator who attacks it. The bishop is correct: pastors must make provision to defend their flocks.

      It is written that we should turn the other cheek, but that does not mean in the least that we should hand over our lives.

      • “Turn the other cheek” applies to response to insults, not response to mortal threats.

        As to the OP question: the church is not legally responsible (criminal liability rests solely with the murderer); however, by disarming congregants without providing other means for their protection, the church IMHO bears civil liability – at least for anyone who sought a statutory exemption from the pastor, and was denied.

  7. I don’t think he bears responsibility, but he did leave himself vulnerable. Blame rests firmly with the shooter, but the Reverend/Senator’s opposition to law-abiding citizens (including himself, it turns out) having the ability to defend themselves in just such a situation should be reflected on.

    There is no righteousness in making yourself helpless against evil.

    • refusing to be prepared makes you at least partly responsible. its not complicated.

      Gun Free zones do nor save lives, but rather puts them in danger, criminals/ill people fo NOT follow any laws.

      do we have pass laws due to a handfull of nut jobs? hell no! that is insane. should we remove many of the Pharmaceuticals on the market or limit their use…. absolutely YES! to many drugs “might” help an unrelated condition, does not mean its a good use/idea to use them. many like Prozak and Zanex cause more issues then they solve.

  8. Pinckney bears no responsibility in his murder. He bears responsibility in fostering an environment of ignorance of peoples right to self protection, and how they choose to exercise that right.

  9. Perhaps we should use an already established term, “enabler”.

    Pinckney is not in any way *responsible* for his death. His policies, however, *enabled* it.


  10. I think Cotton looks just as bad as Obama, standing on caskets and making a political point, even if he is correct and Obama is wrong.

    More gun control laws, more background checks, stricter rules would not have changed the outcome of this situation if some moron gave his mentally deficient son a 45 caliber handgun… as the purchaser was legal to own it and there aren’t many conceivable situations where he would not have been able to legally purchase.

    A lot of gun control advocates, following Sandy Hook, believed that this was their watershed moment where the country would embrace strict firearms control… but it had the opposite effect. People realized that they and their children were vulnerable anywhere and they should take steps to defend themselves. They realize that gun free zones are just magnets for deranged whack jobs.

    Passing more gun control laws is not going to do anything to get the millions of guns already in circulation off the street, especially with the criminal element that laughs about background checks.

  11. The consequences of poor choices, lamentably. Responsibility belongs to the actor.

  12. I’m going to go against the grain here and say yes. Willful ignorance and self delusion made this incident far worse than it otherwise would have been. When you act against common sense, you bear some of the responsibility for when reality reasserts itself. It’s no different than the guy who builds a house at the edge of the water at low tide. The pastor actively prevented his parishioners from taking basic common sense precautions to protect their own safety.

  13. “Again, does Pinckney bear some responsibility for his own death and, dare I say it, the death of eight of his congregants?”

    No and No

    We still do not have enough details to say anything except an angry racist decided to go kill some people.

    There is always assumption in these cases that someone who wanted a gun could not have had one but if did he could have stopped the shooting. That is a big assumption that everyone wants a gun and that person with a gun is at the right place at the right time. This is as bad an assumption as the police are always where a crime is about to happen. There is not enough gun owners who are willing to carry in any place at any time. And given that this NC, it is not that hard to get a gun if you want one.

    Sometimes shit happens like an 18 wheeler smashing into a bunch of cars — and this is one of those times.

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda does not work when you are dealing with crazy.

  14. Sheez, everyone, how much bad juju can we pull out of our asses here? You realize where this train of logic leads — that every gun control advocate anywhere is responsible if they are attacked. Rep Pinckney’s viewpoints are not the perpetrator here. The murderer is. Playing the blame game is cruel in a sensitive time. If Cotton wants to do some good, how about proposing to repeal the church ban rather than piling on the victim? In the meantime, enjoy the anti-NRA Twitter explosion.

    • Was there ever anything except anti NRA drivel on Twitter? The right side is always the one most denigrated by loudmouthed fools.

  15. Sorry folks-it is CRIMINAL to have a defenseless church. Lots of security in my large mixed-race(and class) church in NW Indiana. Plenty of organized and CC…I’m with Tom. If it wasn’t I’d find another church. A freakin’ CAMERA is NOT security…being CLUELESS is not Christian. “Wise as serpents/harmless as doves”…

  16. The good pastor bears the same responsibility as anyone who was killed by a drunk driver while not wearing a seatbelt. Are there measures this pastor could have taken, yes. We’re those measures foolproof? No. Does it matter after the fact? No. Everyone who entered that church did so at their own risk. Just as I sit in a GFZ while typing this at my own risk… Just a sad tragedy all the way around.

    • Not a bad analogy. But to extend it:

      If driver will not allow the passengers to where a seatbelt (or has cut the belt)?
      Has called for the banning of seatbelts?

  17. Like when 3 robbers go after a bank and one gets killed in the process the other 2 are held culpable for his murder, so why is it magically different when a decision to be disarmed ends in a murder of yourself or someone you disarmed……

  18. I find it hilarious that Cotton spends so much time on his forum railing against open carry advocates for how bad they make gun owners look while he’s in the news for crap like this. Super-duper job there, chas!

  19. Yes the decision not to allow guns in his church is a factor. One must live (or die) with their decisions. Time and again evidence shows, that while one cannot prevent a killing, armed resistance can minimize the number killed.

    The only positive construct is this provides evidence of what happens to a disarmed congregation. Fast forward to Islamic gunmen moving from a cartoon contest to target rich environments of worship; will government still deny lawful self defense by restriction of the most cost effective tool available, is the answer to saving lives?

  20. If antis like to blame Armslist, the NRA, and gun owners for the actions of others, why can’t we do the same? Following in the antis logic, Pinckney might as well have pulled the trigger himself.

    I will say, I have no sympathy for people who deny others their basic Constitutional rights then come face to face with the inevitable consequences of that action.

    • The only wrong that Cotton is guilty of is speaking the truth to a delusional, pathetic society that actively shuns the truth and basks in its willful ignorance.

  21. media matters has sh-t-the-bed on too many matters to be quoted here with anything worthy of discourse. You can say, by argument, that I have too (here) but I don’t hold myself out as an authority (on much of anything) and certainly not that I am an IRS Not for Profit 501(c) entity.

  22. I’m going to say that the Reverand bears SOME responsibility.

    Analyzed within the framework that PotG propound, that everyone is responsible for their own protection and safety, then it would seem that the Reverend shares some responsibility.

    Analyzed within the framework of responsibility propounded by liberals, whom for instance have passed laws that say that a pool owner is responsible for the death of a person by drowning, because the pool is an “attractive nuisance” and indeed in some states even though the drowned person jumped a fence, or broke the lock on a gate to gain access to the pool they drowned in the pool owner is still responsible. Within that framework yes, the Reverend, again shares some responsibility.

    Either way, the liberal way that eschews personal responsibility and places the onus on the “owner” (the Reverend in this case) or the way of the PotG, where personal responsibility is put to the forefront, the Reverend shares some responsibility.

    The shooter bears the lion’s share of the responsibility in either case in my mind, but the Reverend, assuming that he did not allow his flock to practice effective self-protection, shares some responsibility.

    We also have to frame this as a learning experience, and espouse those policies when talking about this incident, and other like it. What policies would have prevented this incident, or minimized the impact in the first place? Good access to effective mental health services may have prevented this, but that is not assured. If the Reverend did not wish to have guns in his church, fine, install metal detectors and guards, that would have prevented _this_ particular incident, but may have lead the shooter to using some other means, like chains on the doors and arson, so again, not assured. Allowing the flock to have effective self-defense measures (i.e. firearms) may have prevented this incident, or reduced the damage, but again, not assured. The policies espoused by the civilian disarmament crowd are not even in the running, they most definitely would have had no impact on this incident, so can be discounted.

    It must be recognized by all that the world is a dangerous place, and you can only do so much, there is no way to be completely safe, you just have to live with that.

  23. I originally was not going to comment but after reading the article literally after this “Self-Defense Tip: Don’t Chase Bad Guys”, I can’t help but see a contradiction in your writing Robert.

    How does one absolve the reverend of any culpability and then place the same sort of blame on the kid who died trying to get his phone back? They both can equally fit into don’t do stupid things with stupid people in stupid places. They both were in situations or circumstances created by or aided by their own actions or doings. Both are situations where someone was murdered but what is the difference that makes one no blame and the other blame worthy or at the very least worthy of a paternalistic and hind sighted you shouldn’t do that? Is it that trouble came to the reverend and the kid walked into trouble all on his own? What makes the fatal optimism (to paraphrase), poor planning, and/or wishful thinking between these two incidents any different?

    To me they seem the same; neither the reverend asked someone to come in and murder him nor did the kid go out to get murdered. The hard facts regardless are that both of them made choices that led up to what happened to them. To what extent those choice played a role in their demise is impossible to know, but it seems obvious that if they made different choices the out come could have been different. It sounds shitty to put any blame on a murdered person for ending up in that predicament but realistically there is very little that happens to you that you do not play at least some small part in bringing about.

    • The choice not to arm in the church reflects the hopes of a congregation filtering into a belief. The hope of getting property back leads to a course of action. Neither understood the mind of their opponent, nor that reason would not carry the day. I think RF makes a good point in self preservation, do the minimum with enough force (shown or employed) to actually protect oneself regardless of circumstance.

  24. The shooter is responsible for being a racist, murderous little douchebag. The minister is responsible for denying his flock the opportunity to defend itself. POTUS is responsible for running the most racially divisive regime in the “free world” and alienating whites and blacks from each other.

    It’s going to get even uglier before it gets better. POTUS has eighteen more months to destroy a country that took almost three centuries to build.

  25. No, the cause in fact is obviously the killer. But for him opening fire on the congregation, nobody would have been shot and killed.

    I wouldn’t even say that the pastor’s political positions and votes are even the proximate cause of his death. Plenty of people hold similar political views and vote accordingly, but there’s virtually no foreseeability that they personally or anyone specifically would die in an extremely rare spree shooting as a result.

    To continue within a quasi-legal framework, I would, however, say that the pastor assumed the risk of death in such a scenario, because of political positions and votes. Reality has a nasty habit of asserting itself, eventually, if not often, upon those who most stubbornly resist it. This man ignored his vulnerabilities and failed to counter violent threats when he could have.

    I wish this had not happened and I certainly do not take any satisfaction from the deadly irony, but neither am I particularly sympathetic, since they knowingly put themselves in this situation.

    • I would say that they unknowingly (as in ignorantly) put themselves in that situation. They probably thought that it wouldn’t, couldn’t happen to them. They were wrong.

      • Sorry, Ralph, I’m not buying it. Aside from being a community leader, who one would presume is informed and up to date on current events, he was also a decades-long legislator, who had assessed and decided upon these issues many times as a profession.

        He may have been rabidly partisan or self-deluded, there’s no way he can claim to have been clueless about these risks, any more than a drunk driver can claim surprise at either the ticket or a wreck.

  26. Do you think that the last thought through the Pastor’s mind was…gee, I wish I had a gun? Or….gee, if we had one more law.

  27. No, unless the man had specific knowledge of an impending attack he bears no responsibility. It was his right to not like guns and ask that they be kept from the church. It was the decision of his parishioners to worship there, unarmed.

    Hindsight, sadly, showed these to be poor decisions. The pastor and his churchgoers assumed their peaceful house of worship to be a safe place rather than a soft target. In a just world, that should have been a safe assumption. Yet evil exists and respects no such boundaries.

    Bishop Jackson has already spoken about the responsibility of pastors to protect their flocks. I agree with his opinion and his position of authority ought to help dissolve gun-free zones in the churches under his charge. So what’s to gain by second guessing Reverend Pinckney at this point? Let the man and the other victims rest in peace and let their families find solace without telling them that their loved ones might still be alive had they made different choices.

  28. AND this type of thing is common in Chiraq. Left-wing churches who deny your right to protect yourself. All over the south and westsides…

  29. It really doesn’t matter what the minister did. The odds were overwhelmingly in his favor that there wouldn’t be a shooting.
    My understanding of the state law is that guns are prohibited unless the church makes an exception. Whether this is done at the building level or at the church’s national level isn’t clear. What was pointed out was when the lawyers were consulted, they would say no due to liability issues. To me the state passed responsibility to the church, and the church chose not to expose itself to legal problems. There are an estimated 350,000 congregations in the U.S. How many mass shootings have occurred in churches? Very few. The odds of 1 in 350,000 don’t mean much when the shooting is all over the press.

  30. Is the NRA aware that less than 5% of people have a concealed carry permit? Gun enthusiast dont seem to understand that most people dont really like being around guns, or carrying a gun and forcing the kind of BS of people is only going to hurt the NRA. Only 1 in 3 Americans even own a gun, and less restrictions is just going to make it that much easier for criminals to get guns.

  31. I hate to say this but this Dylan Roof attacked a group of black church members who have absolutely nothing to do with his outburst of “no, you’ve raped our women, and you are taking over the country.” Why didn’t he attack a group of black people who are actually doing these things like gang members and drug dealers? The simple reason is because those people shoot back.

  32. I think these comments, though some in part true, miss the entire point. The question posed was if Cotton’s was correct. Most of the comments state no, but from there a lot of people reversed. Cotton really puts a unfortunate message out through the NRA. It gives gun control advocates ammunition on the feeling sorry front. Absolutely it was the shooter’s fault, and not the gun’fault, or the victims fault. “Things would have turned out differently if anyone there had a concealed weapon”. Pure conjecture, nobody knows what would have happened, maybe the killings would have stopped with fewer victims, maybe more would have been hurt. These comments, while purporting to lay the blame on the shooter, give away their true feelings, by saying only of someone had a gun or maybe the pastor shouldn’t have been pro gun control. Do you deserve to die because you take one side or another? Doesn’t the First Amendment have an equal footing with the Second Amendment? You lose the argument when you cast unwarranted aspersions.

  33. Rev. Pinckney was undoubtedly a fine pastor and a fine Christian gentleman, but tragically, he failed to protect his flock. The legislature of his State, in which he was a leader, recognized his God-given right to carry a concealed weapon in the defense of his own and others innocent lives. Had he done so the toll in the tragedy may well have been greatly reduced.

    As Christians we are not called upon to become unresisting victims of evil. Christ admonished His disciples that if they lacked a sword they should sell their cloak and use the money to purchase one.

    • John, I beg to disagree. Another pillar of our constitution is the separation of Church and State. It is not God’s will that the citizens of South Carolina have the right to carry a concealed weapon. It’s the supposedly secular legislators who gave them that right. To blame this pastor for not defending his flock is pure lunacy. Did Jeses, Moses, Mohammed or any religious figure such as these need to carry a weapon? All died for their causes and no matter what the paranoid mind might fear from other religions, they spoke of brotherhood and peace. If tolerance were the norm, this discussion would never have happened.

      • Our rights come from our creator, not from legislators. How can legislators give the people rights, when legislators derive their authority to legislate from the will and consent of those same people?

        • It is more correct to understand that our rights come from either or both of 2 sources:
          – endowment by our creator (natural)
          – adoption by consensus (political)
          According to our traditions, rights such as speech, assembly, religion and life (implicitly self-defense) are natural. However, certain other rights enumerated in the Constitutional were adopted by consensus. E.g., the first such enumerated right is to be convicted for treason only upon the testimony of 2 witnesses to the same overt act or open confession in court. It would be difficult to reason why the Creator deemed more than 1 witness but not so many as 3 were a natural right. Arguably, the right of women to vote had always been a natural notwithstanding its late recognition by the body politic. More difficult argument would be that the Creator had always intended to enfranchise teenagers.

          Perhaps it’s not an important distinction – natural vs. political rights. Even so, the distinction does serve our purposes. If such a distinction does exist then – arguably – natural rights are superior to mere political rights. The body politic might see fit to raise or lower the age for voting; however, it is not at so great a liberty to tamper with natural rights. Interestingly, this distinction is identifiable in the 2A text itself.

          Presumably, the Creator wasn’t particularly impressed by the natural and political distinctions His people might designate for administration of his Kingdoms. If we assume that He granted the natural right to life (and self-defense) then that right is endowed upon all his people irrespective of race, religion or political subjugation. Madison, as ratified by we the People, extended the guarantee of the right-to-arms only to the proper subset referred to “the People” [of the United States of America]. Indians, slaves, Loyalists and sojourners not included. The 14A extended the guarantee to freedmen and their decedents.

          And so, most of us (exceptions acknowledged) do not contest that Congress designates expatriates (Americans who have renounced their US citizenship) and illegal aliens as prohibited-persons.

          Faithful adherence to these distinctions (natural vs. political rights, rights of the People vs. those of all “persons”) all serve to strengthen our argument that Congress’ latitude respecting “the People’s” right to KBA are among the most tightly constrained by our Constitution.

        • Chip, it’s in article VI of the First Amendment.
          “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” More succinctly, the Church, any Church, is not to be above the constitution. This standard has been upheld by the Supreme Court countless times over the past 225+ years.
          If you believe that only our creator gives us rights, than why do you follow any of the laws of the United States or any part of the Constitution? If the Creator is only our source of rights, who’s to say he believes in the right to bear arms?

          • Nope, “separation of church and state” wasn’t there. Maybe if you look again, you’ll find it?

            Spoiler: it’s not there. The phrase comes from a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists, and in that context, it means exactly the opposite of what you imply that it means.

        • Janet – The First Amendment doesn’t have “Articles”, Articles are part of the basic, unamended Constitution. The religious oath test you quoted is intended to prevent the limitation of service in government the way the Brits did by requiring an oath to the Church of England. This prohibition is intended to prevent the establishment of a “state sponsored” religion like the CoE and the collusion between it and government that such establishment engenders. The First Amendment states this more clearly than Article VI. Both section were intended to keep Government out of the religion business, NOT keep the religious, and their faith, out of the Government business. To truly understand, one must read both letters, in order, and in context.

  34. Guns are for old people. I prefer biochemical and digital. If we are hell bent on killing each other and money is the key. The Republicans and POTUS are on the right track with TPP. Poison the people and force them into poverty.

    I am doing my best to leave this most corrupt country for a more nuetral one. Am I anti American? With its current governance. Absolutely.

    Lobbyist are bribes. Attaching amendments to bills is extortion. Citizens United is selling our government.

  35. Those who say “no” presume that evil does not exist.

    It does.

    Choosing to be helpless in evil’s presence, knowing that it does indeed exist, is a willful act to enable it.

    Yes. He is complicit. As are all who refuse to be armed. Yes, they all very much do choose to be victims. Peace and Harmony is not the natural state of humanity. Imagining otherwise to justify a false stance is no more than adding a false frame to the false stance.

    Denial does not generate a new reality where you’re right about defying reality… Unicorns and Fairy Dust.

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