NRA Official Blames Dead Pastor For Charleston Church Shooting

A National Rifle Association (NRA) official is blaming the dead pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for the deadly shooting that took place there, Mashable is reporting.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the church and a South Carolina state legislator, was one of nine victims of the shooting.

NRA board member Charles Cotton, writing on a gun rights forum, blamed the dead pastor for the killings. In a discussion of the role that gun-control legislation played in the shooting, a poster wrote, “Something else to consider: The pastor of this church, who was killed, is a State Legislator in S.C.” [Pinckney voted in 2011 against a proposed bill that would have allowed gun owners to bring guns into churches, day care centers, and similar places; the bill failed.] Here’s how Cotton responded.

“And he voted against concealed-carry. Eight of his church members, who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church, are dead. Innocent people died because of his political position on the issue.”

The NRA board member’s post to has been taken down, but Mother Jones was able to provide a screenshot.

blames dead pastor
Screenshot of NRA board member Charles Cotton's post.

Cotton, who according to Mother Jones is listed as a site administrator on, did not return calls for comment on his post. The NRA, via Politico, issued a statement distancing the organization from its board member’s comments.

“Individual board members do not speak for the NRA and and do not have the authority to speak for the NRA.”

Even though Cotton’s post blaming the pastor for the deaths of himself and eight of his congregants has been deleted, members of the forum continue to discuss his remarks. Reactions to his words have been largely negative.

“Isn’t the murderer in fact the one to blame for the nine dead folks being dead?”

“The height of lunacy is that thinking that the answer to gun violence is more gun. But have fun with this… maybe if you are lucky there will be more massacres.”

Other posts have been somewhat sympathetic.

“Look at the bright side. Charles is reaching an audience that would never visit this forum or consider his positions in other venues. While many will be offended, because they don’t think, some will consider his words and possibly even change their minds.”

Do you agree with the NRA board member that the dead pastor is to blame for the church shooting in Charleston? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

[Images courtesy of: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla, Mother Jones]