Arkansas Woman Bans “Muslims” From Her Gun Range
Here’s some gross and weird racism to start off your Wednesday: a gun range in Arkansas has declared that it is a “Muslim-Free Business.” Jan Morgan runs the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range, and is an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment (although apparently not the rest of our Bill of Rights). She also subscribes to a particularly paranoid form of logic.
According to Morgan, the decision to ban Muslims from her business was based on an encounter in which:
Two Muslims walked in to my range last week with Allah Akbar ring tone and message alert tones on their smart phones. They spoke very little English, one did not have proof of U.S. citizenship, yet they wanted to rent and shoot guns. Their behavior was so strange, it was unnerving to my patrons. No one would enter the range to shoot while they were there. Some of my customers left.
First of all, what in the world is an “Allah Akbar” ring tone? Allah Akbar is a phrase that means, essentially, “God is the Greatest.” It’s used in prayer or in times of distress. The name of the Libyan national anthem is similar — “Allahu Akbar” — but I highly doubt that’s what this woman was referring to. Was it just the phrase “Allah Akbar” over and over again?
On a more serious note, Morgan very well may have been concerned by the behavior of these two men. My guess is that the encounter she’s describing has been a little over exaggerated, but let’s pretend that it’s not. She and her customers may well have been concerned, and if they broke a reasonable rule that she’d created at her business — for example, having a valid ID — she had every right to refuse them service. Gun range owners do have the discretion to turn away people who seem, for example, drunk, or mentally ill. But that’s an individual decision based on the customer in question, not a blanket one.
Where the huge disconnect comes in, is that this apparently prompted her to ban anyone who is Muslim from her gun range, which makes about as much sense as banning all men because those two she encountered happened to be male. Or banning all young white men, because they are the most common to partake in mass shootings.
Morgan goes on to justify her paranoia and splendid racism with a list of nine reasons. Some are your garden variety xenophobia, but there are some standout examples of logical fallacies as well. Here’s a fun one:
In the 14 hundred year history, muslims have murdered over 270 million people. Not all muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists in the world right now are muslim. Since you can’t determine by visual assessment, which ones will kill you and which ones will not, I am going to go with the line of thought that ANY HUMAN BEING who would either knowingly or unknowingly support a “religion” that commands the murder of all people who refuse to submit or convert to that religion, is not someone I want to know or do business with. I hold adults accountable for the religion they align themselves with.
I enjoy how she starts this statement off with how not all Muslims are terrorists, but concludes that that doesn’t really matter. And she’s right, you can’t tell someone’s religion just by looking at them, so I’m assuming this leaves Morgan a couple choices: either ask her customers’ religion before they enter her business, or profile anyone who fits her definition of what someone who is Muslim looks like. Either is offensive, degrading, and inappropriate.
Also included in Morgan’s manifesto are random comments about Sharia Law coming to the United States, which no one can really prove, and lots about the violence of the “Koran.”
Morgan will have a suit brought against her by the ACLU. The executive director of the Arkansas ACLU, Rita Sklar, explained, “It’s unconstitutional, it’s illegal under the Civil Rights Act. It’s a violation of the right to religious liberty.”
Morgan, though, seems to have some support. If you want to really depress yourself, check out the comments on any article about this issue, or the Twitter mentions. That bothers me more than one crazy wingnut banning Muslims from her business, because it reminds me that so much of the country thinks this way.
Finally, Ms. Morgan claims she is a supporter of the Second Amendment, but I think she needs a reminder of what the Second Amendment actually says:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
And let’s put all arguments about the Second Amendment aside for a minute here, because although I have conflicted feelings about what it actually means, there’s one thing in there that’s crystal clear: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There are no caveats in there. This is in an Amendment to our Constitution, a document that tells us that all men are created equal. Not all Christians are created equal, or all white people are created equal, or all Americans. Everyone. While Morgan does own a private business, her love of the Second Amendment doesn’t mean that it’s right to ignore the rest of the document. The Bill of Rights isn’t multiple choice.
Anneliese Mahoney (@AMahoney8672) is Lead Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at amahoney@LawStreetMedia.com.
Featured image courtesy of [John Biehler via Flickr]