This is a response to a rather nasty piece by firing range owner Jan Morgan, who yesterday declared her range a "Muslim free zone".
Dear Jan Morgan,
I think some congratulations are in order. You are now, to the collective gun owning masses, almost exactly what the Muslim terrorist is to Muslims everywhere, albeit on a slightly smaller level. An object of scorn and derision, not because you have violated some holy bylaw of the shooting community, but because your nastiness will no doubt be used to justify the further mistreatment of gun owners, just as the behavior of the murderous dingbats that make up ISIS is used to justify your mistreatment of Muslims. For this extremely pragmatic, eminently sensible reason, you ought to be cut from the heard, ostracized by those you do commerce with, and allowed to watch your business wither and die, avoided by everyone. Sure, some will cheer for you. You’ll get some supportive comments on your Facebook page from your fellow indecent far-right goons. Coincidentally, ISIS and Al Qaeda also get some friendly shout-outs on twitter. This does not mean that they are supported by the majority of Muslims
A popular pro-gun bumper sticker reads “84,999,989 gun owners killed no one yesterday”. Of the roughly 2.4 million American Muslims, only a handful have engaged in terrorism. Your announcement contains a great number of claims about the Muslim faith, and its propensity for violence. On the subject of Koranic verses, there are certainly some nasty ones. There are also quite a few nice ones. One could say similar things about other Abrahamic religions. The Bible contains quite a few verses which advocate for the murder of nonbelievers and assorted undesirables. Leviticus 21:9 comes to mind, “A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death”. Cheery stuff. We are not currently dealing with any number of Christian terrorist groups, however, this is not the result of having a nicer book. Developed, functioning nations have come up with all sorts of institutions which safeguard against religious nutters wandering about and lopping the heads off of nonbelievers. Many sorts of people come to our country to take part in these institutions. To paint individuals who worship Allah as potential terrorists requires a complete abdication of perhaps the only value held by gun owners everywhere.
Gun owners understand the need for individual responsibility. When someone fires a round through their kitchen table, it is not the result of the gun “going off”, but someone’s imbecilic decision to put their finger on the trigger of a loaded firearm. When some clown shoots up a theater, it is not the result of gun culture, but of that individual’s sick decision to shoot a bunch of people. By treating all Muslims as responsible for, or complicit in the orchestration of, acts of terrorism, you engage in the same sort of group blaming as Sharon Watts and Michael Bloomberg.
I do wonder how you will go about enforcing your asinine and discriminatory policy. You say that you “have no way of discerning which Muslims will or will not kill in the name of their religion”, but I can’t see how you will discern which of your customers belongs to the Muslim faith. Will potential shooters at your range be asked to recite the The Lord’s Prayer, or sign an affidavit declaring that they are not, and have never been, a follower of Mohammed? What if you are lied to by some unscrupulous Muslim? I mean, if someone really wishes to do you and your customers harm, we can’t expect that that they would refrain from lying to you in order to carry out their terrorist scheme.
I should hope that you aren’t planning to effect your policy by simply sizing folks up as they walk through your door. How awkward would it be if you mistakenly denied service to a Sikh after noticing his turban, or accidently allowed some nondescript, eastern European Muslim to send a few rounds downrange? Perhaps you could check ID’s, and exclude anyone with a Muslim sounding name. You wouldn’t want someone named Massad Ayoob shooting at your range.
Now, let me be clear, I believe you are well within your rights to refuse Muslim folk service at your place of business. I am a strong proponent of property rights, and, it would be illogical of me to deny you the right of exclusion as it pertains to the property you own. Now, in case you are unaware, your decision to bar Muslims from your place of business does run afoul of Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and if you are sued, you will lose. The Civil Rights Act trumps ATF administrative policies. This aside, the fact that you are well within your rights to enact a given policy does not render that policy a wise or civil choice. The 1st Amendment affirms my right to walk through a Jewish neighborhood singing the Horst-Wessel-Lied, but that would not make it any less of an offensive and ghoulish act. I defend your right to enact this policy, but it is a foolish and harmful decision.
On your point about the mental state of your customers, and your responsibility to turn away those whom you deem to be mentally ill or dangerous, it seems as though you are asserting that all Muslims are mentally incapable of safely handling a firearm. If I am wrong in this understanding, please let me know, but I would be rather concerned about your commitment to the 2nd Amendment if you believed that participating in the third largest American religion rendered one’s right to bear arms null and void.
I realize that this letter has been long, and harsh, unkind, even, but I care very much about both common decency, and my right to own an AR-15 replete with a host of accessories I will likely never need as a civilian. Your bigoted policy stands as gross violation of the civility I expect from my fellow citizens, and unfortunately, will negatively affect how gun owners are viewed. I urge you to alter your vile policy, but sadly doubt that you will change your mind. To my fellow gun owners, praise god, whichever one you choose, and pass the ammunition.