Joseph P. Riley Jr. , the longtime Democrat mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, blamed the Second Amendment for the killing of nine people at a church in the city last night.
“I personally believe there are far too many guns out there, and access to guns, it’s far too easy. Our society has not been able to deal with that yet,” he said.
He said the Second Amendment results in “easy ability for people to gain possession” of firearms and “no doubt contributes to violent acts.”
Riley has advocated preventing Americans from exercising their constitutional right to own firearms for decades.
He said he was disappointed more Americans did not support the “major national effort” to restrict the Second Amendment following “the tragic event with the school in New England,” a reference to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“I’ve never stopped pushing for it,” he said of his views on rolling back the amendment. “This is just a very heartbreaking and tragic example of why it is needed.”
Polls indicate more than half of all Americans support the right to own firearms.
Move to Link Racism and Gun Violence
Gary Younge, writing for The Guardian, said after the incident that America suffers from the “twin pathologies of racism and guns” and both “are deeply rooted in the nation’s history since its founding.”
Younge said the Second Amendment fuels racist violence. “America does not have a monopoly on racism. But what makes its racism so lethal is the ease with which people can acquire guns,” he said.
He said there is a “blood-soaked pedestal erected around the constitution’s second amendment.”
Others moved to place the attack within the context of domestic terrorism.
The white terrorist who killed black folks in #charleston is channeling the same energy as the S.C. state flag. Remove that symbol of evil!
— chauncey devega (@chaunceydevega) June 18, 2015
“White right-wing domestic terrorism is one of the greatest threats to public safety and security in post 9/11 United States of America. Such a plain-spoken fact is verboten in mainstream American public discourse,” writes Chauncey DeVega for the liberal website Salon.