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REFLECTIONS ON THE CHURCH MURDERS — 40 Comments

  1. Great article. You explain things so well, and you back up what you say with facts!!
    I love it! You really are a resource for me when I discuss gun matters with either the uniformed or the gun grabbers.
    Thanks for the intellectual “ammo”.

  2. Thanks again Mas for the facts as well as for a near parallel situation which shows what happens when good people act quickly. If you please, a citation for any stories on how the SC scumbag bought the gun himself and passed the background check. Not doubting you, but I like reading source material first-hand…and printing hard copy for when the story gets scrubbed from the ‘net.

    Sadly, it has been two generations since the “Brady Bill” began the brainwashing of our nation into believing that all guns do is murder and no good comes from them. Sheep will simply not believe that they can stand up to the Big Bad Wolf and no amount of cold harsh factual reality will convince them otherwise.

    An aside: I wonder if all those arguing the loudest that the Confederate flag is a symbol of a racist past even know that the gun bans that they may champion were originally designed to disarm ALL blacks, whether slave *or* free?

  3. Sometimes I think these liberal anti- gun people treat these mass shootings gleefully because it helps their agenda. They believe that when enough of them have occurred, consensus while turn in their favor.

  4. There are evil people in the world who will not respect the persons or property of others unless forced to do so against their wills. It’s the “forced … against their wills” part that the anti-self-defense crowd has a problem with. Self defense requires making the moral value judgment that the welfare of the victim comes before the welfare of his assailant. That’s something they don’t want to do and they will go to any lengths to avoid it.

  5. Not far from where I live in Portland, Oregon, a couple years ago a young disturbed loser armed with an AR visited a large shopping mall intent on smoking a bunch of innocent shoppers. Fortunately his plan was cut short by a CCW holder who pointed his pistol at (but didn’t shoot) the dirtbag who then quit his rampage and promptly committed suicide. Most of the local and national news media “forgot” to mention that part of the story.

  6. IMHO, the real problem with “Gun Free” zones is the lack of accountability. The law in most States gives various organizations (businesses, churches, schools, office building owners, etc.) the power to post their public spaces as “Gun Free” zones. This is a powerful authority. It is the power to infringe upon the right of self-defense (as established under the 2nd Amendment) by banning the most effective means of self-defense (a handgun) from their public space.
    The real problem is that there is no responsibility connected with this authority. If an entity creates a “Gun Free” zone and it turns out that they set the table for one of these mass shootings, the creator of the “killing ground” is not held accountable in any way. On the contrary, this entity is held up, by the left and by the media, as a praiseworthy entity who attempted to stop “Gun Violence” by means of this ineffectual “Gun Free” zone.
    I have already seen comments in the media and on the internet praising these church members for being “martyrs” who died to uphold Christian values and who did not stoop to allow those nasty firearms to pollute their place of worship. Verily, the biblical passage regarding “turning the other cheek” was well quoted.
    Well, I can quote the bible too:

    Proverbs 26:11 (KJV): As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

    IMHO, this needs to be addressed with tort reform. We need tort law to establish that any entity that posts a public space as a “Gun Free” zone must assume a duty and a responsibility to actively protect the members of the public who enter this zone. Passive measures, such as the posting of signs or installation of video cameras, are not adequate to fulfill this duty. Rather, active measures, such as security guards and metal detectors, must be used to fulfill this requirement under the “Reasonable Man” standard. In the event that someone is injured or killed due to a security lapse in the “Gun Free” zone, then they may sue the entity who established the zone for damages and compensation.

    This type of tort reform would bring responsibility and authority back into balance. However, I expect that I have a better chance of winning the next Powerball lottery than of seeing this kind of tort reform implemented soon. All the entities currently creating these “Gun Free” zones enjoy being shielded from all liability and would fight to preserve current protections. In additional, every left-wing Politician in American, plus their sycophants in the lap-dog media, would also rise up in “full cry” against it. Nevertheless, this type of tort law would absolutely fix the problem of “Gun Free” zones by bringing authority and responsibility back into alignment.

  7. Charles Cotton has been my instructor on two of my Texas
    CHL renewal classes and one handgun proficiency class. He is
    a first class person all the way…. in his CHL classes he stresses
    ways to avoid a confrontation that might result in firearms use.

    The prohibitionists don’t mind blaming innocent law abiding gun
    owners so we can reasonably blame the late pastor for not allowing
    his flock to be protected.

  8. Randy: A lot of us refer to the anti-gun opportunists as “blood dancers” for a reason. Keep reading.

    Everyone:
    Average number of casualties when a “mass shooting” is ended by police intervention: 14
    Average number of casualties when a “mass shooting” is ended by armed citizens already on-site: 2

    Armed citizens carrying firearms is A Good Thing ™. The prohibitionists will cite the “other 2” as a reason to not allow it, as if the 12 (on average) saved by early intervention don’t matter. To the prohibitionists, they don’t matter unless they die in a “mass shooting”; then and only then, they can be used to push for more restrictions. To the rest of us, however, we’d prefer to have the 12 survive to mourn the 2, rather than have to mourn 14.

  9. I was not even aware that that shooting in Aurora had happened three months before the Holmes theater shooting. You are so right about the major news outlets not covering it. I was scolded by a friend on facebook with the same last name who is an anchor in Lexington, KY. He said that the media does cover these types of “hero stops bad guy,” stories; he’s right, the local media but not CNN. They NEVER EVER do.

  10. Thanks for the link, Mas. Sorry to sound lazy; work’s been busy of late and surfing time at a premium!

    @ Randy-PR Ill. : There is no “sometimes” about it. The anti-gun crowd will shameless exploit every opportunity and every murder to further their agenda. Never forget that Sarah Brady began her campaign as her husband was recovering in the hospital from a lunatic’s bullets, and began the “Coalition to Ban Handguns” as that group was originally called. Bodies of mass murder-by-firearm victims will not even be interred before any such horror will be exploited by those looking to ban guns and the politicians (ahem…the current President…ahem) in bed with them.

  11. The hate groups are going wild against anything Confederate. Their hatred of history is chilling. I’ve read some unbelievable posts from haters who have zero education about the Confederacy, just their own blind rage against the battle flag and anyone who dares to point out well known facts. I’m afraid we are losing the struggle by failing to educate people and that breeds the haters who are trying hard to emulate the NAZI book burners. We must rebuild the U.S. education system.

  12. Thanks Mas, I came here for a dose of sanity and was rewarded. First time comment but many thanks for your erudition.

  13. Absolutely there is a direct relationship between “gun free zones” and the successful mass murders. It attracts these murders to go to these places and feel safe to mow people down without fear of someone placing a well placed shot to end their rampage. I don’t eat, go to movie theaters with my family with no go signs. Simply put they will not get my money and I will not leave my method of self protection in my vehicle and also be in a place where these nut jobs gravitate to.

  14. A Christian neighbor tells me about a church in Jacksonville, Florida where there a 20 parishioners packing and organized at every service. Members of his church also carry at services with the pastors permission.

  15. Failing to proactivly protect self/others is no different be it smoke detectors, child safety locks, guns, seat belts or any other choice of categories of risk.

    As your gun hating friends to answer this:
    Faced with a a known killer having just killed your spouse and moving to kill your children, would you want a weapon? Maybe even a gun?

    Watch them squirming as they try to reconcile the issues.

  16. Mas, regarding the choice to carry a firearm in a “weapon-free-zone” (WFZ), does not a firearm that is made in the same state exempt the bearer prima facie from prosecution under federal law, by not falling under the heading of interstate commerce?

    Would the non-prosecution of the excellent sheepdog Lee Silverman in PA carry any weight at all as a precedent for excusing, under PA’s or other states’ laws, proscribed possession or use of a firearm in other WFZ’s?

    The WFZ’s that have become Hells via poor security should have footnoted their signs with: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

  17. Two-gun Steve, I don’t think that theory will fly. The non-prosecution of Dr. Silverman was certainly the right decision but is in no way binding precedent, I’m afraid.

  18. The prohibition in Dr. Silvermans case was that of the medical facility, not statute law. There is state pre-emption on firearms laws. Doesn’t stop local idiots from enacting them, but the SAG has warned Philadelphia that their local law is unenforcable (also warned of charges of Official Oppression-love the verbage- if they try). I guess they could have terminated the good Dr. for violation of their rules, but it wouldn’t look good and he might win a suit.

    My Bible-fu is weak, but I recall something on the order of: “No man knoweth the day nor the hour”.

    Speaking of which, one of the local hospitals has large signs that prohibit weapons. The other facilities exempt law enforcement. It’d be rather interesting if the LLEA refused to go to that facillity, but it isn’t going to happen.

    Information only: I’ve seen what proported to be quotes from one or more folks who were present at the Charleston atrocity, but unharmed. Allegedly, one or more of the parishoners were begging the guy to stop over an extended time and that he reloaded several times. If true, it’s most unfortunate no one simply clocked the guy during a reload.

    Also allegedlly, the murderer took part in extended Bible study and discussion and apparently launched the attack after it ended. Alleged comment on the order of “Y’all are good people, it’s a shame I have to do this.”

    I guess we’ll find out during the trial.

  19. Mas, I’ve long wondered why states chose to make churches off limits for concealed carry permit holders, or even why they would assume to have that authority. I know that when concealed carry began to flourish, many concessions were made to liberal legislators (who wanted to make such freedoms as burdensome as possible) in order to pass CCL laws, but why churches? It would seem to me that should have always been left to individual church leadership without interference from the state (1st. amendment). Where am I wrong?

  20. TN_MAN, I agree. As a pharmacist I worked for a national retail chain. I worked nights for years. Company policy was no CC, period. I told my wife to sue the company for violation of my 2nd Amendment rights if I was killed on the job. I insisted.

    Some have told me to carry anyway. Maybe I should have. I don’t like breaking the rules.

    A guy tried to rob me at 1 AM once. Said he had a gun & pointed through his jacket pocket. He was arrested in the store & never got close to the narcotics he was after. I made no noise about it. Long story, mgmt found out & thought I would be fired. I didn’t even have a gun. I was lucky in a couple regards and customers supported me as well.

    I have a couple associates & friends robbed at gunpoint and two were pistol whipped. One perp went on to rob a number of stores & was finally cough after feds got upset when branched into bank robbery.

  21. I saw the interview with Mr. Cotton and agreed immediately with his comment. A legally armed
    citizen may not have been able to save the pastor, as he was the target, but the other victims would likely be shaken, not dead. As for a “flag”, that’s so much nonsense. That lunatic could
    have just as well been photographed with ‘Old Glory’, and it would not have made one iota of
    difference.

    I’m just waiting for the defense to be “he had a rough childhood. His parents were drunks and he
    wasn’t given enough love because he was ADHD, people bullied him and he isn’t RESPONSIBLE – FOR-HIS-ACTIONS.” Then the violins will play, there won’t be a dry eye in the house and those people will still be dead because he was a predator looking for victims.

  22. Dennis, I honestly don’t have an answer for that particular question. Can someone more knowledgeable on that aspect chime in, please?

  23. Dennis: Wyoming, as one example, had a gun-free-zone rule for churches for a long time. My guess is that some shoot-outs occurred at churches back in the range war days, as in the time of the regulator Tom Horn, whom many settlers greatly feared. The result was likely an attempt at bringing about peace through enforced disarmament. The no-guns-in-churches regulation may have been recently eliminated, though, through some general revamping of Wyoming’s gun laws. This is all IIRC off the top of my head, and I will dig deeper regarding the history, and what the rules are now.

  24. Dennis, in Georgia the law defaults to gun-free for “place of worship” but grants an exception if “the governing body or authority of the place of worship permits the carrying of weapons or long guns by license holders.” In Wisconsin, where I live, it is the opposite – places of worship aren’t listed as prohibited areas but a church can hang the “no weapons” sign on the front door just like any place of business, home, etc. It might be interesting to go through something like the CCW database app and tabulate how many states are in each category. I’d do it, but rather spend the time at the range 🙂

  25. Steve, Brian,-Thanks for the response. My question is not whether an individual church, or for that matter a group of churches under a common leadership, should have the right to regulate who, and under what circumstances, a person is allowed to enter their places of worship. My concern is, constitutionally, should it be the right of the state (government) to make that decision, placing it in the hands of the state and taking that decision (constitutional right?) away from the church. To my knowledge, there are no state imposed blanket bans on CCL holders entering premises where newspapers are being printed (same first amendment protection).
    I know that some states with the church prohibitions are revisiting them and going through the process of eliminating them. My question is really just a mental exercise as to why churches were singled out in the first place and why the constitutionality of this interference in church affairs was not a consideration (or was ignored). Thanks again.

  26. To further flesh out my “mental exercise”, even if your pastor asked you, as a CCL holder, to please start carrying your weapon inside the sanctuary due to recent events, if a parishioner complained, the state could revoke your permit/license (or charge you with carrying a weapon where prohibited) for honoring the pastor’s request. You would have violated one of the restrictions on “where carrying of a weapon is prohibited” even if you had permission of the one in control of these premises, since it is a state imposed restriction.
    Now, having started this “mental exercise”, as a retired police officer, I know that in my part of the country, the scenarios I’ve described would be handled, from my experience, with common sense and no legal action other than sitting down with the parties involved and explaining the possible future ramifications of their actions. In other parts of the country, especially in the northeast, I’ve read of too many instances where common sense on these matters seems to be severely lacking.

  27. Illinois ccw law says nothing about churches being off limits. They can, however, post signs like any business. One would think that a church would not like the state dictating to the church and would use the 1st amendment to null it. I understand that several bills are pending in the state legislature to ban guns from churches. We shall see.

    Locally, several retail businesses that originally posted signs have removed them. I don’t believe that is because enough ccw holders complained. It is more likely that people that had never thought of firearms being on the premises were reminded of the possibility and said something to management. (Better to let sleeping dogs lie syndrome.) I was at the local UPS office and saw that they were posted. I asked the clerk about the sign and if he REALLY felt safer because of it. He just shrugged and hadn’t thought of it.

  28. The laws of Tennessee are fairly typical regarding “Gun Free” zones. They are as follows:

    A) Any room in which judicial proceedings are in progress.

    B) Any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.

    C) It is not an offense for a nonstudent adult to possess a firearm, if such firearm is contained within a private vehicle operated by the adult and is not handled by such adult, or by any other person acting with the expresses or implied consent of such adult, while such vehicle is on school property.

    D) An individual, corporation, business entity or government entity or agent thereof is authorized to prohibit possession of weapons by any person otherwise authorized by this subsection, at meetings conducted by, or on premises owned, operated, managed or under control of such individual, corporation, business entity or government entity. Notice of such prohibition shall be posted in prominent locations, including all entrances primarily used by persons entering the building, portion of the building or buildings where weapon possession is prohibited. Cities/Counties can post their parks.

    So, courts and schools are clearly “Gun Free zones (GFZ)” by statute. One can, however, drive onto school property to pick up a student with a gun the in car as long as it remains in the car and locked up. Churches are not GFZ’s by Statute, however D) gives a broad range of entities the power to “post” their property as a GFZ. So, a church can be turned into a GFZ by the church leadership. All it requires is for the church leadership to approve it and then to obtain and post the signs. As I pointed out above, there is no “liability” cost to creating a GFZ. That the real problem!

  29. TN MAN.
    Wisconsin has one of the newest CCW laws and it probably does incorporate a liability exposure for those who crease a GFZ. If they DO NOT post and a shootout occurs, the Wisc. CCW law shields the business, etc. from lawsuits by those involved. However, if they DO post, my attorney predicts liability exists for the business. When they kept you from bringing your firearm into their place of business, they took away your ability to protect yourself and therefore assumed the responsibility of protecting you and all others on their premises.

    Thankfully there hasn’t been an event to create a test case yet, but I have pointed out this provision to a couple of friends who originally posted and they have taken it up with their attorney and eventually removed their GFZ signs.

  30. The topic of Gun Free Zone jogged my memory about some studies citing how frequently gun defenses occur. There are links to the full study after the Gun Defense Clock Summary and Peer Review below. The initial study by Florida State’s Dr Kleck conclusions did not sit well with the anti gunners so a second Clinton government study. The second study did not refute Dr Kleck conclusions.

    Summary

    According to the National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the rate of Defensive Gun Uses can be projected nationwide to approximately 2.5 million per year — one Defensive Gun Use every 13 seconds.
    Among 15.7% of gun defenders interviewed nationwide during The National Self Defense Survey, the defender believed that someone “almost certainly” would have died had the gun not been used for protection — a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. (In another 14.2% cases, the defender believed someone “probably” would have died if the gun hadn’t been used in defense.)
    In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first — disproving the myth that having a gun available for defense wouldn’t make any difference.
    In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn’t be called “newsworthy” by newspaper or TV news editors). In 64.2% of these gun-defense cases, the police learned of the defense, which means that the media could also find out and report on them if they chose to.
    In 73.4% of these gun-defense incidents, the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim. (Defenses against a family member or intimate were rare — well under 10%.) This disproves the myth that a gun kept for defense will most likely be used against a family member or someone you love.
    In over half of these gun defense incidents, the defender was facing two or more attackers — and three or more attackers in over a quarter of these cases. (No means of defense other than a firearm — martial arts, pepper spray, or stun guns — gives a potential victim a decent chance of getting away uninjured when facing multiple attackers.)
    In 79.7% of these gun defenses, the defender used a concealable handgun. A quarter of the gun defenses occured in places away from the defender’s home.
    Source: “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995
    Peer Review

    Marvin Wolfgang, the late Director of the Sellin Center for Studies in Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Pennsylvania, considered by many to be the foremost criminologist in the country, wrote in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995:
    “I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe even from the police … What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. [“Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, published in that same issue of The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology] The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator. …I have to admit my admiration for the care and caution expressed in this article and this research. Can it be true that about two million instances occur each year in which a gun was used as a defensive measure against crime? It is hard to believe. Yet, it is hard to challenge the data collected. We do not have contrary evidence. The National Crime Victim Survey does not directly contravene this latest survey, nor do the Mauser and Hart Studies. … the methodological soundness of the current Kleck and Gertz study is clear. I cannot further debate it. … The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well.”
    So this data has been peer-reviewed by a top criminologist in this country who was prejudiced in advance against its results, and even he found the scientific evidence overwhelmingly convincing.

    Gun Defense Clock (http://www.pulpless.com/gunclock

  31. The First Amendment, has been scape goated. Oddly enough to the ACLU is not standing up for the First in this case. I will make the prediction that after the Recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage, that we will see more people coming over to a new cause “celeb”, gun control. That is what happened when nuclear power, was no longer and issue. The facts do not matter to them.

  32. Masad — I came here looking for your response, coming fresh out of church.

    I carry while I attend. Tonight I was consciously thinking, “What would I do? I’m close to the door, I could get out. Would I stay? How badly would I be shaking? How could I shoot an armed guy, shooting people, without accidentally shooting people myself? What’s outside the stained glass walls we have? Would I hit nearby residents?

    I don’t remember the sermon. I remember deciding that, as probably the only armed parishioner, I would take a stand and try to protect them.

    And I remember thinking, if I survived it, when the cops came, during the moments when they were detaining me, I would probably only be able to say, “I want Mas. Call Mas.”

    Then I came here to see if you had written about the AME incident yet. That’s how much, I realize now, I’ve come to rely on your articulately sensible responses to these things.

  33. I’ll add, I carry while I attend because I always carry. It’s what the retired trooper taught us in our CCW class all those years ago: “Either carry or don’t carry. But don’t carry ‘sometimes.’ A CCW holder is taking up a responsibility that can be a real pain-in-the-butt. You have to take care of what you wear, where you sit, how you sit, where your gun is, how you’ll access it. It’s a conscious preparedness — or if you don’t want that hassle, then don’t ever carry.”

    He made sure we understood that the places we would believe were the biggest hassle to carry were the ones most attractive to those armed with ill intent — and he made us think hard about carrying it even in church. He didn’t order us to carry in church. It was a hard decision we had to make on our own, but he encouraged us to. And so I always have.

    I’m a liturgical musician and devout member. But I’ve found it isn’t that difficult. So … this is on my mind quite a bit, though much more so after this incident.

  34. Uncle Dave – I had the very same thought when I heard the marriage ruling – what’s next? It took all of ten seconds for gun control to come to mind. We are hanging in there, but only by the slimmest of margins. The SCOTUS liberal “voting bloc” of four has become one entity. What scares me far more than the fact that they are in lockstep – is that no one seems to be willing to challenge that lockstep. If they continue to rule in such a manner, they should be elected, like the House and Senate. There must be consequences for such behavior. The people in America who believe in the Constitution, especially the 1st and 2nd Amendments, simply MUST unite to save them.

    At least there is some conscience present – Chief Justice Roberts: “just who do we think we are?” Yes, indeed.

  35. Don-Pa, it will be interesting how the supreme’s will rule if a future reciprocity case (thinking Pa. single mom Shaneen Allen v. New Jersey) makes it before them. The majority based its gay marriage ruling on the 14th. amendment, which they said requires licenses (marriage, drivers, etc.) issued by one state must be honored by all states. Surely advance notice on the ruling played no role in Gov. Christie’s pardon, nipping at least that perfect case in the bud, stopping its progress to them. (in other words, did they paint themselves into a national CCL reciprocity box?)

  36. Dennis – I just saw your post above and was prompted to pass along something the folks here may have missed if they didn’t read the excellent work on National Review’s site regarding all of this. It is accepted that the SCOTUS is making decisions which have nearly NOTHING to do with laws and EVERYTHING to do with feelings. The more I read and learn about this, sadly, it’s true.

    Let’s all just hope they’re “feeling” benevolent if and when reciprocity comes to their agenda. If done correctly, it would be a wonderful thing. But, let’s face it – when was the last time ANYthing was done correctly by the government?

  37. Don, I agree. A brilliantly written, and I believe, divinely inspired constitution, has been the anchor and foundation of this, the most blessed nation in history. When it becomes a “living document” as the libs/progressives say, we become like a house built on jelly, shifting and squirming until we collapse. Sad.

  38. TN_MAN, Paul S, IIRC, there was a lawsuit here in Georgia a few years ago that was settled out of court.
    A man with a CCW working for a company that prohibited weapons anywhere on their property was shot and killed at a convenience store on his way home from work.
    His family sued his company, arguing that their refusal to allow him the means to protect himself meant that they had taken upon themselves the responsibility for his safety not only at work, but on the way to and from work, as well.
    They settled out of court.
    Some companies here changed their policies afterwards. For example, Gulfstream Aerospace now allows guns that are locked in cars.
    I can’t find any reference on line.
    May be an urban legend, but damn, it makes sense.