CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA — A 21-year-old man walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina and participated in a bible study for an hour before abruptly opening fire on the participants.
Nine people died as a result. A young man whom has been described by the mother of a childhood friend as a “really sweet kid” has now turned into the latest author of a horrific mass shooting.
South Carolina law dictates that a person cannot bring a firearm into a church unless given permission from the church. Essentially, it’s a gun free zone.
(8) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body;
Whether any members in the church at the time carried firearms throughout their daily lives remains to be seen, but this killer had free reign to commit these heinous acts.
Does designating an area “gun free” make it any safer?
The Sanctity of Places of Worship At Stake
This latest act is being described as both a hate crime and a terrorist act by news sources. Unfortunately, it’s become more common for churches and places of worship to be targeted by hateful individuals looking for easy targets. Like the shooting that occurred in 2012 at a Wisconsin Sikh temple, just because a place of worship forbids weapons on their premises doesn’t mean hateful cowards will not attempt to use them there.
Is it time to reconsider what a “gun free” zone truly means?
Killer Received Gun From Father on Birthday
According to a statement by the killer’s uncle, Carson Cowles, the killer received a .45 caliber pistol on his 21st birthday from his father – who owns a construction business near southeast Columbia. Cowles began to grow concerned when he noticed a pattern of the killer “staying in his room” all the time.
The twenty one year old apparently kept his own company quite often but it was mostly shrugged off by family members and friends.
The killer had prior drug convictions stemming from two prior incidents and one case back in February where he had been arrested following suspicious behavior at a store. According to the Post and Courier, he had been asking employees what time they got off work. Police arrested him and discovered an unspecified quantity of Suboxone in his vehicle. Soboxone is a narcotic pain reliever.
According to present ATF and South Carolina regulations governing the purchase and sale of firearms, the killer would not have been able to legally obtain a pistol or modern firearm from a licensed gun dealer. The main reasons are because of his prior drug convictions and a pending case against him.
It’s a tragic case where the law governing the lawful buying and selling of guns worked but the vulnerability of a father giving his mentally-ill son a pistol did not.
As details of this case continue to emerge, undoubtedly we will be updating this article and others. We here at Concealed Nation send our thoughts and prayers to those affected in South Carolina and hope we may all take up more ardently the cause to defend one another from such hate and violence.
Oh, and the cries for more gun control are starting to flow in.