A Florida gun shop owner’s reaction to the shootings in Chattanooga that left four Marines and one sailor dead is drawing both fire and praise.
Andy Hallinan, 28, has declared his store, Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, a “Muslim-free zone.” The Massachusetts native is also standing up for the Confederate flag, offering free concealed carry classes and free access to the shop’s firing range.
Hallinan laid out his shop’s new policies in a video posted on the store’s Facebook pageand on YouTube. The YouTube video posted July 18 already has more than 10,000 views. In it Hallinan explains “3 new EXTREME policy changes in response to the latest terrorist attack on our country.”
In the video, Hallinan also explains his stand on such issues as the Confederate flag, racism and terrorism. He also urges viewers to not “believe their lies.” He was referencing political leaders who are calling symbols, such as the Confederate flag and Christian cross, racist and those who insist “Islam is a peaceful religion, full of tolerance and love and hope.”
“We’re in battle patriots, but not only with Islamic extremism, but were also in battle with extreme political correctness that threatens our lives, because if we can’t call evil, evil for fear of offending people then we can’t really defeat our enemies.”
The new policies are drawing praise and criticism both on the shop’s Facebook page.
“To suggest that all Muslims or followers of Islam are a potential threat simply isn’t right,” posted a woman, who described herself as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Muslim.
“Put down the gun and pick up a book before you kill your fellow Americans,” wrote another poster.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has fired back against the store’s new policies, asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate “possible federal civil rights violations,” its website reports. The country’s largest Muslim civil liberties group says that “systematically banning Muslims from such businesses is a violation of federal laws prohibiting racial and religious discrimination in public accommodations.”
While it is unclear if DOJ has been contacted, that agency did issue a statement earlier this year that it was “monitoring” an Arkansas shooting range that had been declared a “Muslim-Free Zone” by its owner.
Criticism aside, Hallinan is sticking to his guns for now.
“As a gun dealer, I can deny service to anyone for any reason,” he contended on Facebook. ”I will not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots,” he said in the video.