Thursday’s conviction of Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof seemed a foregone conclusion, but in the aftermath, a prominent gun rights organization noted that only he should be held accountable, and that law-abiding American gun owners should never be penalized for such acts.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms noted in a statement to the media, “The system worked, the law worked, and this verdict affirms that individuals are accountable for their crimes, while penalizing all American firearms owners is nonsense.”
After the June 2015 shooting that claimed nine lives at the Emanuel AME Church, there were calls for tighter gun controls, including more stringent background checks. Even the background check system was criticized, because Roof passed a background check despite some pending drug-related problems at the time.
Roof, a white supremacist, reportedly committed the murders in an effort to start a race war. All of the victims were black.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb noted in his remarks that, “By convicting Dylann Roof for the slayings of nine church members at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last year, the jury properly placed responsibility for that terrible crime squarely on the shoulders of the man who did it.”
He called the church attack “unconscionable and reprehensible,” but added that Roof “did it all by himself.”
“Tens of millions of honest firearms owners,” he said, “including some 15 million who are licensed to carry for personal protection, were just as horrified by his attack as everyone else. We all shared the grief, but we do not share the responsibility. That is a burden Dylann Roof will have to bear on his own.”
The federal jury that convicted Roof deliberated for less than two hours before handing down its verdict. Fox News reported that the same panel will gather again on Jan. 3 to consider whether the 22-year-old Roof should be sentenced to death.