The Continued Tragedy of Gun-Free Zones

You knew this argument would emerge the moment the news broke of a terrorist gun massacre in Charleston. Wonkette is all over it:

That was fast! It only took a few hours for Fox to toss up an editorial explaining that the best explanation of why six women and three men were shot to death in their church Wednesday night is that nobody in the church was packing heat like they should have been.

Professional gunhumper and FoxNews.com columnist John R. Lott explains:

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.

It has the look of a ready-made editorial that, like a prewritten obituary for an aging celebrity, was just waiting for the next mass shooting — because in U.S. America, there’s always a “next mass shooting” on the way. The Charleston massacre is mentioned only in the first and last paragraphs, and the rest is boilerplate about how Bad Guys always choose “soft targets” where they know no one will be shooting back at them. There’s not a single word about the fact that it was allegedly a white racist murdering people in a black church. If the shooting had taken place at a school or a mall, everything else in the editorial would be identical, explaining that until it’s legal for everyone to carry a gun everywhere, we can look forward to more mass killings, and also the liberal media never covers the brave heroes with concealed weapons who do stop mass shootings all the time. (Since he could only find a few examples, he had to link to the same incident in at least two different spots in the editorial.)

Now the idea that we need to encourage people to bring instruments of deadly force into churches consecrated to the worship of the Prince of Peace, who taught loving one’s enemies and turning the other cheek to the hateful, is one that used to be considered a mite strange. Not any more. Next door to South Carolina, in Georgia, a law was recently passed that our friends in the gun lobby considered a bit of an impure compromise, stipulating that churches and bars could choose to permit concealed weapons on their properties. The gun lobby has been thwarted, even in Georgia, in extending this “right” to schools. But I’m reasonably sure if Republican rule in the South continues, eventually a ban on “gun-free zones” will be made universal. Because guns don’t kill, it’s their absence that is lethal. And clearly, any lilly-livered Christian minister who doesn’t keep a roscoe close at hand during services needs to be discharged. After all, you never know when some Christian-hater like Dylann Roof will show up seeking to deny worshipers their religious liberty.

Clearly, this “Christianity” stuff is a threat to the Second Amendment.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.