Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has described the Charleston church massacre as an "accident".

Perry – who followed former president George W Bush as the governor of Texas – announced that he would be running for president again after a failed bid in 2012.

The former governor of Texas also blamed the shooting of nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina by Dylan Roof on prescription drugs and not US gun laws.

Perry was asked about the mass shooting at Emanuel AME church during an interview with the conservative NewsmaxTV.

Though his campaign team later insisted the word was a slip-up, and he meant to say "incident"', Perry went on to insist the issue at hand is not gun control, but drug control.

He went on to slam President Obama for saying that gun control is a problem in America.

"This is the MO (modus operandi) of this administration, anytime there is an accident like this," Perry told Newsmax TV.

"The president is clear, he doesn't like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot this message."

Meanwhile, a Houston attorney on the National Rifle Association's board of directors has blamed the deadly Charleston church massacre on one of the victims, Pastor Clementa Pinckney.

He said the murdered pastor had opposed concealed carry legislation as a state senator, which could have saved him and his fellow worshipers.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Charles Cotton confirmed writing that "innocent people died because of Pinckney's position on a political issue."

The post appeared Thursday in an online discussion board about concealed handguns.

Cotton said to AP: "That's the thing that's frustrating to me: Laws that disarm intended victims. How many more is it going to take when people realize there is no such thing as a gun-free zone?"

He described mass shootings as "rare in the grand scheme of things", and that "almost every one of [the mass shootings] happen in a supposed gun-free zone, like a church, a school, or a military base like Fort Hood".

US Army base Fort Hood in central Texas has been the site of two mass shootings in recent years.