Tags: Barack Obama | Gun Rights | SC Church Shooting | charleston | barack obama | gun rights groups | Dave Dalton

Gun Groups Slam Obama on SC Comments: 'Does This Man Watch the News?'

By    |   Thursday, 18 June 2015 08:07 PM

Gun-rights groups Thursday slammed President Barack Obama's call for a national reckoning on gun violence after the fatal shooting of nine people in a South Carolina church Wednesday night and his remark that "this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries."

"Does this man watch the news?" Dave Dalton, founder of the American Gun Owners Alliance (AMGOA), exclaimed to Newsmax before ticking off several mass shootings in recent months. "We had the shooting in Canada not that long ago. You had the one in Norway. You had knife-and-machete attacks in the UK and other countries.

"You know this stuff happens," Dalton said.

"Just hours after the tragic shooting in a South Carolina church, President Barack Obama resumed his fanatical war on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners," said Erich Pratt, spokesman for the Gun Owners of America.

"The president wants to blame an inanimate object — the gun," Pratt added. "But that just deflects blame away from the real culprit: gun-control policies that leave people defenseless in the face of evil perpetrators who are never effectively prevented from acquiring weapons."

Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, said that Obama has fallen back on the gun issue again because "he must be so troubled by his embarrassing lack of policy craftsmanship that he's willing to blame anyone except his own poorly designed, marginally executed, anti-democratic executive orders" to reduce gun violence issued in January 2013 after the Sandy Hook massacre.

"The gun shops will be crowded this weekend," Feldman proclaimed in a statement to Newsmax. "The new 2016 presidential buying frenzy has just begun."

Obama spoke after authorities arrested Dylann Storm Roof, 21, a white man from Lexington, S.C., after a 14-hour manhunt. He was arrested in Shelby, N.C., about 220 miles north of the shooting site, and police found a weapon in Roof's car.

The FBI identified Roof as the gunman in the shooting deaths of nine people late Wednesday at the Emanuel African Methodist Church, a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in an attack that is being investigated as a hate crime.

Roof had opened fire after joining in a Bible study group at the downtown church for nearly an hour, authorities said.

Emanuel AME's pastor, State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, 41, was among those killed in the attack. He was a married father of two who was elected to the state House at 23, making him the youngest member of the body at the time.

In court Thursday, Roof waived his right to counsel at a brief extradition hearing and will be sent back to Charleston to face charges.

According to court records, Roof has one felony drug case pending against him — stemming from an arrest in March in Lexington County on drug-possession charges. He was arrested the next month for misdemeanor trespassing in the county, police said.

Founded in 1816, Emanuel AME has been central to the nation's Civil Rights Movement and has its own grim history: When a founder, Denmark Vesey, tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822, he was caught, and white landowners burned the church down in revenge.

Parishioners worshiped underground until after the Civil War.

At the White House, President Obama said that both he and first lady Michelle Obama knew Pinckney and several shooting victims. They got to know Pinckney during the 2008 presidential campaign — and the pastor was an early Obama supporter.

The president referred fondly to "Mother Emanuel" as more than a church, calling it "a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America."

He added that he been called upon "too many times" to mourn the deaths of innocent people killed by those "who had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."

"Now is the time for mourning and for healing," the president said. "But let's be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.

"It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency," Obama added. "And it is in our power to do something about it."

He acknowledged the scant sentiment within the Republican-controlled Congress for stricter gun laws, saying that he recognizes "the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now."

A federal universal background bill couldn't muster the 60 votes necessary even in a Democrat-controlled Senate in the months after the 2012 shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut.

While the National Rifle Association declined to comment to Newsmax on the attack because of the investigation, other gun groups blasted Obama for ignoring a key issue in mass shootings, mental illness, and the rise in gun-free zones throughout the country.

Emanuel AME is a gun-free zone, AMGOA's Dalton told Newsmax. His group is based in Mountainhome, Pennsylvania, and has about 6,000 members.

"We have a mental-health-issue problem in this country," he said. "We don't have the resources for people who need treatment. There's a stigma attached to it."

Dalton also blamed the news media for "fanning the flames of racism" with their sensationalized coverage of police shootings of unarmed black men and subsequent protests throughout the country.

"The way they handled Ferguson, the way they handled Baltimore," Dalton said, adding that the coverage led him to observe to his wife recently that, "the way they are pushing the envelope here, there is going to be a pushback by some racist lunatic.

"I equate racism with a mental-health issue," he told Newsmax. "A normal person wouldn't think that way. If you have someone who is inherently racist or has grown up in a racist environment, they already have a problem.

"Then, when they see what's going on — and they're pounded over their head, day after day, by the news media — you have to think about these people and the flame of racism inside of them that is building and building."

For Obama to "come out and just say, 'OK, it's the gun's fault again' — which is the same-old, same-old that they all come out with — it's ludicrous," Dalton said.

"The gun didn't walk into Sandy Hook and killed those children," he said of the elementary school shootings in which 20 children and six adults died. "This gun didn't walk into that church, sit there for an hour and then decide to kill these people.

"It was a human being that did it every time," Dalton said. "Whether they're mentally unstable, they're overtly racist or whatever it is, the common factor here is the human being."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Gun-rights groups Thursday slammed President Barack Obama's call for a national reckoning on gun violence after the fatal shooting of nine people in a church Wednesday night and his remark that "this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries."
charleston, barack obama, gun rights groups, Dave Dalton
1106
2015-07-18
Thursday, 18 June 2015 08:07 PM
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