After the Oklahoma beheading by a Muslim and ongoing threats from the Islamic State (ISIS), Arkansas Firing Range becomes the first to ban Muslims.
Bearing Arms In an act that will no doubt result in lawsuits, The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has declared itself a “Muslim free zone” due to concerns over domestic Islamic terrorism. The ban was announced yesterday by range owner Jan Morgan in an article posted to her web site where she cites ten points justifying her position.
Among the points cited are prior attacks in the United States that the federal government refuses to classify as terrorism, including the Fort Hood attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the last week’s Oklahoma City beheading. Morgan has also received death threats in the past for her writing about Islam.
Another incident that weighed heavily in Morgan’s decision was an incident at her firing range several weeks ago, which she relayed to Bearing Arms this morning.
Morgan claims that two Muslim men who spoke only broken English came to her range and requested to rent semi-automatic firearms and ammunition. One of them could not produce any identification showing that he was in the country legally, and the other had a California driver’s license. Neither had any apparent firearms training. She allowed them to rent one firearm, and stood behind them the entire time they were on the range, her hand on or near her holstered Glock 19. All other patrons voluntarily vacated the firing line while they were shooting.
She brings up a very valid point that gun stores and ranges have both a legal and moral obligation to ensure the safety of their patrons. Because of this, they may refuse service to anyone they deem to be under the influence, mentally unstable, or otherwise a potential threat to themselves, or others. FFLs are afforded a great deal of latitude in this regard, as the federal government would rather err on the side of caution.
While FFls and range operators have a great deal of latitude in their business dealings, it is doubtful that a blanket ban based upon religion is remotely viable on First Amendment grounds. This is no more legally viable than a ban on Baptists or Catholics.
Morgan expects that she will be sued over the decision for civil rights violations, and is gearing up for a court battle.