A longtime National Rifle Association board member wrote on Thursday that the nine victims of the Charleston, S.C. church shooting “might be alive” if a pastor who was also killed in the massacre had just supported an expansion of gun rights.
Instead, the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a Democratic state senator who supported gun control legislation throughout his career.
In a post Thursday on a message board for Texas gun enthusiasts, Charles Cotton, who served on the NRA board of directors for at least 13 years, referenced the shooting from the night before that left nine dead at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church.
Cotton was responding to a user with the name “ShootDontTalk” who wrote: “Something else to consider: The pastor of this church, who was killed, is a State Legislator in S.C.”
“And he voted against concealed-carry,” Cotton wrote. “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 position on a political issue.”
His post included an image encouraging people to “Join NRA.”
The NRA, which most recently held board elections in February, does not appear to keep a list of current board members on its website. But a profile of Cotton remains on the NRA Publications website and the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America pointed to the July 2015 issue of the NRA’s “America’s 1st Freedom” magazine that listed him on the board.
The NRA did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment on Friday. A message left for Cotton at his law office was also not returned.
This is not the first time Cotton’s comments have received scrutiny.
In February, Cotton said corporal punishment should be used on children to keep him “from having to put a bullet in him later.”
h/t Media Matters