John Lott, Gun-Free Zones And The Charleston Church Shooting

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 11 months ago

John Lott is making much over the recent church shooting in Charleston.

The horrible tragedy last night that left nine people dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., probably could have been avoided. Like so many other attacks, the massacre took place in a gun-free zone, a place where the general public was banned from having guns. The gun-free zone obviously didn’t stop the killer from bringing a gun into the church.

Well, yes, no and maybe.  There’s more to it than that.  I play second fiddle to no one in terms of carry of weapons, including open carry which John Lott doesn’t like.  John and I have been in the ring exchanging blows over this very issue (see both article and comments).  But it’s important to be accurate on this issue because what we learn is dependent on a correct understanding of the law and choices we make thereto.

(M) A permit issued pursuant to this section does not authorize a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon into a:

(1) police, sheriff, or highway patrol station or any other law enforcement office or facility;

(2) detention facility, prison, or jail or any other correctional facility or office;

(3) courthouse or courtroom;

(4) polling place on election days;

(5) office of or the business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district;

(6) school or college athletic event not related to firearms;

(7) daycare facility or pre-school facility;

(8) place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;

(9) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body; or

(10) hospital, medical clinic, doctor’s office, or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed unless expressly authorized by the employer.

The law is stupid and shouldn’t require “express permission” of the church officials.  But at least it does give the latitude to carry with permission of the church, and this isn’t defined in state law.  So for example, the church could have given permission for every man and woman over the age of 21 who has a concealed carry permit to carry in the church, up to and including posting at the door that carry of weapons is allowed with a permit (unfortunately, in a tip of the hat to racist Jim Crow laws, open carry is not currently allowed in South Carolina because Senator Larry Martin killed proposed legislation to make it legal, a sore spot with me that we will revisit as time goes on).

What does this mean?  Are worship centers in South Carolina gun free zones?  Well, sort of, if they so choose.  But they don’t have to be.  They can choose differently, and this pastor was a well-known advocate of gun control.  So you don’t miss it, let’s cover that again.  This pastor was a well-known advocate of gun control.

They chose to disarm.  The result is the same – sadly, men and women are dead.  But it’s important to get the facts straight so that the right things are learned from the horrible experience.


Comments

  1. On June 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm, Mack said:

    Lott Says: “[T]he massacre took place in a gun-free zone …”

    You respond: “Well, yes, no and maybe.”

    Perhaps Lott should have said Provisional Gun-Free Zone.

    As for Pickney, see how Politico’s Nick Gass is beating up on the NRA because Bd Member Charles Cotton dared to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the pastor should have allowed self-protection inside the church.

    NRA board member blames pastor for Charleston deaths

  2. On June 19, 2015 at 2:12 pm, Mack said:

    I now think this (Charles Cotton) bears watching. WaPo’s Christopher Ingraham is deliberately using false science to further the anti-gun narrative.

    An NRA board member blamed the pastor killed in Charleston for the deaths of his members


    From a gun rights perspective, these are common arguments: the NRA has
    long maintained that the solution to gun crime is more guns, not less. …

    But research generally has taken issue with these arguments.

  3. On June 19, 2015 at 4:43 pm, Bill Daigle said:

    All circle jerking aside…if the people in the church had been armed there would have existed a possibility to stop an active shooter much quicker than waiting on he / she to run out of ammo or willing victims

  4. On June 19, 2015 at 7:57 pm, MrApple said:

    Amen.

  5. On June 19, 2015 at 7:57 pm, MrApple said:

    The shooter should have never passed the paperwork and sale of the handgun. He had a drug possession charge pending from an arrest in February and then he bought the firearm from an FFL Dealer in April. He must have ILLEGALLY answered questions 11b and 11e on Form 4473. Strange that someone hell bent on committing a horrible act wouldn’t answer truthfully when confronted with the MIGHTY background check and ATF paperwork.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/us/charleston-church-shooting-suspect/index.html

  6. On June 19, 2015 at 8:43 pm, Geoffry K said:

    More than likely he was NOT entered into NICS by the Court.
    If he lied on the form it wouldn’t matter.

  7. On June 19, 2015 at 9:13 pm, MrApple said:

    He has not yet been convicted of the drug charge but lying on the form is yet another law broken and another example of the complete lunacy of promoting and using the background check and ATF paperwork as a protection against the “wrong people” getting their hands on firearms.

  8. On June 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm, Geoffry K said:

    Larry Martin is a RINO. He thinks all criminals walk around openly displaying a firearm.
    The don’t. They conceal it illegally until they are ready to perpetrate their crime.
    And that is why I no longer go to the Grand Strand in the Summer because concealing my sidearm when the temperature and humidity are in the 90s is just too much to handle.
    I have a SC CWP.
    I think it may be time to take my money and taxes to Arizona. No permits needed there.

  9. On June 19, 2015 at 9:50 pm, Geoffry K said:

    I just found this Church shooting, it turned out different.

    http:// m dot snopes dot com/jeanne-assam/

  10. On June 20, 2015 at 2:33 am, DAN III said:

    With all the carry restriction locales listed, why bother with a permit ?

    So much for “….shall not be infringed.”

  11. On June 20, 2015 at 2:46 am, DAN III said:

    The bottom line to this murder spree is that there are bad people in this world. There weapon of choice is just an inanimate object, a tool in the crime.

    In good ol’ London, England where gun ownership is banned, there are more than 1,00 acts of violence committed with knives, with a blade ! So, since banning of guns has not stopped violent crimes, the politicians there have made effort to ban knives, tools with blades !

    Not surprisingly, I have not read or seen or heard ONE source call for an immediate trial for Roof and upon conviction, he be marched out to the gallows and hung from the neck until dead ! No appeals. No life sentence. Rid American society of this scum quickly.

    WHERE are the calls for this killers immediate execution upon conviction ?

  12. On June 20, 2015 at 6:54 am, DAN III said:

    Geez, I jave to edit myself

    ….in London, England rhere are more than 1,000 acts of violence using a knife, every month !

  13. On June 20, 2015 at 9:10 pm, Nosmo King said:

    The church problem in SC at least has a solution of sorts – one can request permission, and has the option to change churches if refused. But, take a look at #10 – “…or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed unless expressly authorized by the employer”. If getting a flu shot constitutes “performing a medical service or procedure” then nearly every drugstore in SC is off limits for any carrier not on the payroll and who also has the boss’s blessing (“….unless authorized by the employer”). And, since most grocery stores now have a pharmacy, and they’re advertising flu shots as well, it’s not unreasonable to consider that if one is carrying one is potentially liable for criminal charges while buying canned beans or hot dog rolls.

    It’s possible that’s not what the legislature intended, but with Larry Martin involved it could well be. The fact remains that with that language in the statute there’s certainly no barrier to a prosecutor going forward with charges.

  14. On June 23, 2015 at 6:47 am, Daniel Barger said:

    John Lott is correct….this church was a ‘gun free zone’. WHY it was is irrelevant….be it by actual prohibition of law or by willful choice of the pastor is not particularly important. What IS important is that AGAIN as is nearly ALWAYS the case carnage occurred in a zone where the killer had good reason to believe that they could operate with impunity and unopposed. THAT is the crux of the issue, the fundamental reason why we see mass shootings in churches, schools and workplaces and NEVER see such incidents at gun shows, or even in a Walmart or other retail store. The odds of a spree killer being accosted by an armed citizen is too high outside government or employer mandated victim rich environments thus they choose these locations. That is the fact that must be mentioned early, often and loudly when these incidents occur.

    And we need to “control the language”….always describe these places not as ‘gun free zones’
    but as ‘victim disarmament zones’.

  15. On June 23, 2015 at 9:15 am, Herschel Smith said:

    There’s a nuance in the argument here that doesn’t need to be overlooked. The pastor of this particular church chose to be disarmed and to have his congregation disarmed, just like so many other Christians in the ME. Christians are dead and dying all over Mesopotamia, and it is by choice. The first thing that needs to be fixed isn’t the law. The first thing that needs to be fixed is mindset. Why this particular church was a “gun free zone” is not irrelevant to my particular point here.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published June 19th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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