The horrifying Charleston shootings, in which a 21-year-old white supremacist allegedly murdered nine people during a prayer service at a traditional African-American church in South Carolina, have once again ignited a national debate about the regulation of handguns and other dangerous firearms — including on Fox News.
President Barack Obama led the discussion, issuing some of his most stern statements favoring gun regulation in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre.
"We don't have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun." Obama said."As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago—these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children," the president continued. "And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
Obama's statement, however, ignited an even stronger reaction from Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, who on Sunday went on the conservative news channel and declared that, due to his statements in favor of some form of gun control, Obama's Secret Service protection — protection that has been afforded to ever president since Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 — should be withdrawn.
"There's nobody in the world surrounded by more armed people than President Obama himself," Carlson — who in April predicted "the end of civilization" as the result of Baltimore protests against police violence — said. "I notice he's not suggesting the people around him disarm. He wants to remain protected, but the rest of us have to go without means to self-protection."
The Secret Service was created in 1865. President Abraham Lincoln signed the law establishing the new agency — designed mainly to prevent currency counterfeiting — on April 14. Later that same day, Lincoln was assassinated, shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth.
But it was not until 36 years later when another president, William McKinley, was assassinated by gunfire that the Secret Service was officially assigned to protect the President of the United States, a job it has performed ever since.
Another Fox News contributor, Jehmu Greene, told Carlson his stance was "beneath this discussion."
"You are trying to compared Secret Service armed people to someone who walks into a church and kills nine people," Greene said.
Watch the entire video of the Fox News debate over the Charleston shootings and the Secret Service, above.
[Image: Fox News Screen Grab]