Toby Keith received the honor of a lifetime when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City on Thursday (June 18), but his thoughts weren't far from those affected by the devastating shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17. The singer, who has spoken out in favor of the right to carry firearms in the past, says that tougher gun laws, which some have suggested would have prevented the crime, aren't the answer.

“If it can happen in church, it can happen anywhere, so there’s no answer to it,” he told reporters before the Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony (quote via the Associated Press). “Countries all over the world that have really strict gun polices, like Oslo, Norway. It happens there.”

Keith went on to say that if a police officer had been part of the prayer service that evening, "maybe seven or eight of those nine people would still be alive."

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, has been arrested for the shootings, which have been categorized as a hate crime, and subsequently charged with nine counts of murder. Roof attended a Bible study session at the church for an hour before launching into a tirade against African-Americans, then killing six men and three women.

Shortly after news of the tragedy broke, many country artists -- including Charleston native Darius Rucker, who still lives in the area -- offered their condolences on Twitter.

Toby Keith Names His Most Important Songs

Do You Know Toby Keith's Real Name?

More From TheBoot