NRA member blames shooting on a victim

HOUSTON – A Houston attorney on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors is blaming the deadly Charleston church shooting on one of the victims, saying the slain pastor had opposed concealed carry legislation as a state senator that could have saved him and his fellow worshippers.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Charles Cotton confirmed writing that “innocent people died because of (Clementa Pinckney’s) position on a political issue.” The post appeared Thursday in an online discussion board about concealed handguns.

Americans viewed as having too many guns

BEIJING — Often the target of U.S. human rights accusations, China wasted little time returning such charges. Elsewhere around the world, the attack in Charleston renewed perceptions that Americans have too many guns and have yet to overcome racial tensions.

“We don’t understand America’s need for guns,” said Philip Alpers, director of the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org project that compares gun laws across the world. “It is very puzzling for non-Americans.”

In China, the official Xinhua News Agency said the violence in South Carolina “mirrors the U.S. government’s inaction on rampant gun violence as well as the growing racial hatred in the country.”

Attack puts Confederate flag in the spotlight

As officials across South Carolina decried the massacre of nine people in a historic black church as a hate crime, some of the state’s politicians defended a delicate status quo over flying the Confederate flag in the state capital.

U.S. Representative Mark Sanford, a Charleston Republican and former governor, said re-examining a 2000 compromise that allows the Confederate flag to fly not on the state house in Columbia but on a nearby memorial could be divisive.

Calls to take down the flag, which is widely seen as a symbol of white supremacy and racism, arose again after the shooting. The suspect, Dylann Roof, drove a car with the flag on his license plate.

Officials in Columbia lowered the U.S. flag and state flag over the capital Thursday, but the memorial’s Confederate flag remained at the top of its staff.

– From news service reports