On Wednesday, white gunman Dylann Roof killed nine black churchgoers in a racially charged shooting, and yet he can’t be indicted with a hate crime under South Carolina law.

 

There are five U.S. states that have no hate crime statutes, and South Carolina is one of them. From 2009 to 2014, many have tried to pass a hate crime law within the state, but every attempt has failed.

 

On Friday, Roof was charged with nine counts of murder and the possession of a firearm. With the shooter facing such serious offenses, is there a need to tack on hate crime charges as well?

 

Photo of Dylan Roof

The tragedy of Dylan Roof’s actions will spark conversations regarding the enforcement of federal laws and creation of in-state statues.(thedailybeast.com)

If laws exist prohibiting hate crimes or category related incidents, then the enforcement of appropriate consequences will be easier to comply with. The states that do have hate crime laws protect groups that are main targets of racial, religious or sexual prejudice.

 

Roof admitted that he chose his victims based on racist misconceptions he held against those in the black community. He told investigators that he committed this crime in the hopes that it would start a race war. “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country,” said Roof to the victims.

 

When crimes like that are obviously motivated by racial prejudice occur, one wonders why South Carolina still hasn’t passed a hate crime law?

 

South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, believes that these laws are unnecessary at the state level since there are federal hate crime statutes. However, the state representative of South Carolina, William Gilliard, believes federal law is insufficient.

 

“If we had in-house laws, we could expedite it, and we could add different penalties to really send a strong message,” said Gilliard.

 

This tragic shooting has undoubtedly reopened the dialogue in South Carolina on whether or not there is a necessity for hate crime laws in the state.

 

Will South Carolina pass a hate crime law after the recent shooting? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.