The Charleston, S.C., church massacre is already drawing comparisons to the tragedies at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., and at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. because it happened in a gun-free zone.
Nine people were were fatally shot at a historically black church Wednesday night.
Although South Carolina is one of several states around the country that issue concealed carry licenses on a “shall issue” basis, legal gun owners are not permitted to carry their firearms into places of worship.
States that issue such permits grants gun licenses to residents without the “arbitrary bias and discretion, compelling the issuing authority to award the permit,” Buckeye Firearms notes.
According to South Carolina law, civilians may not carry their legal fire arms “on school premises (including day care and preschool facilities), in law enforcement offices or facilities, in court facilities, at polling places on election days, in churches or other religious sanctuaries, or in hospitals or medical facilities. (S.C. Code Ann.§ 23-31-215.)”
The penalties for carrying a firearm in such places include a fine of at least $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
The alleged gunman, who was captured in Shelby, N.C., Thursday, is 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, a white male from Lexington, S.C. Reuters reported Thursday that Roof’s father gave him a .45 caliber pistol for his 21st birthday in April.
That’s also the day when he became eligible to apply for a concealed carry permit. It is unknown if he is a South Carolina permit holder.