Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky claimed earlier this month that the Mother Emanuel AME Church's policy of not allowing guns was somehow to blame, in part, for the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina (video below).
Massie was upset that Democrats tried to add an amendment to his bill that would have banned the “Confederate battle flag’s display at federal parks and cemeteries administered by the National Park Service, as well as the sale of items displaying it,” notes RightWingWatch.org.
Massie told "The Tom Roten Show":
We’re having this debate because of the unfortunate circumstance that happened in South Carolina and my hearts go out to those people. But I will say this, I am glad they are blaming a flag and not a gun this time because usually they are blaming the gun. They look for everything that could be wrong except for the real reason here and they go after it.
Massie claimed that an armed churchgoer could have stopped the mass shooting, and added:
Except this particular church disallowed any guns coming into the church, another gun-free, gun-free zone, which makes people less safe.
I think that’s why this time they wanted to have the debate on a flag instead of a gun because they realize that a gun would have been the only way to stop this. A gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen.
Mother Jones reported in 2012 that of 62 mass shootings in the past 30 years not one was stopped by an armed civilian.
Dr. Stephen Hargarten, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said that armed civilians are likely to make mass shooting scenes worse "given that civilian shooters are less likely to hit their targets than police in these circumstances."
Mother Jones noted that in 1982 an armed civilian killed a mass shooter after a shooting. In two mass shootings in the 1990s, teen suspects were stopped after their shootings by armed civilians in Mississippi and Pennsylvania.