- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 20, 2015

It’s hard to imagine how the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church that left nine dead could have been worse, but a top Democratic strategist says the shooting would have been a “horror” if the black parishioners were armed.

“Now I cannot imagine the horror that could have occurred if people were sitting around with concealed weapons, this thing started, and you have a full-scale gunfight,” said Democratic advisor Bob Shrum on Friday’s episode of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”

“You might not even have three survivors,” said Mr. Shrum, a top campaign aide to now-Secretary of State John Kerry during his failed 2004 presidential bid.

His comments contrast with criticism over South Carolina’s concealed-carry law, which prohibits firearms in churches without the express permission of church authorities, in the aftermath of Wednesday’s church shooting in Charleston.

The Democratic campaign guru, who also worked for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in 2000, came under heavy criticism for his remarks on YouTube, where a clip of his interview with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz was posted.

“Bob Shrum brought his best stupidity to MSNBC today and made sure to get in there that the best thing for nine black church goers is that they NOT have guns to defend themselves when a murderous racist came in to kill them,” said the poster, YoutobeNews.

Said another commenter: “I can tell you what would have happened; instead of 9 dead there might have been 1, maybe 2 people dead before the shooter was taken out.”

“How sick and delusional is this man for him to think that it’s worse to have a shootout with an armed gunman, to actually fight back, than it is just to sit there and let him slaughter you,” the commenter concluded.

Mr. Shrum also predicted on MSNBC that, “I think in 2016, in Democratic primaries, this is going to be a big issue.”

“I think that the NRA will try to use it in states like West Virginia and Kentucky in the general election to try and defeat the Democratic nominee, but I think at some point the country is going to come to the place where it says, ‘We have to do something,’” Mr. Shrum said. “It’s not going to be now. It might be three years from now or four years from now. How many more tragedies like this do we have to endure?”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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