NRA exec Charles Cotton blames pastor for Charleston massacre



Charles Cotton, a Texan member of the NRA’s board of directors, has come under fire for suggesting that the pastor of the church is to blame for the Charleston massacre that left nine people dead this week.

Charles Cotton made the comments in a since-deleted thread on, a gun rights message board he runs and operates. A commenter in the thread pointed out that Clementa C. Pinckney, the pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston SC, was also a state legislator.

Cotton’s response to that comment was as follows:


And he voted against concealed-carry. 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.


After his remarks became a national story, Charles Cotton spoke with the Washington Post to clarify what he had said. According to Cotton, “It was a discussion we were having about so called gun-free zones. It’s my opinion that there should not be any gun-free zones in schools or churches or anywhere else. If we look at mass shootings that occur, most happen in gun-free zones.”

Meanwhile, an NRA spokesperson said “Individual board members do not speak for the NRA and do not have the authority to speak for the NRA.”

According to Charles Cotton’s official NRA bio, he’s been a sport shooter since the age of four. Cotton has been an NRA board member for 13 years, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the NRA’s Civil Rights Defense Fund.


(Photos: Church via Wikipedia; guns and ammo via Flickr)

website statistics