Citing to public safety concerns stemming from the 9/11 attacks and a recent Oklahoma workplace beheading, Arkansas gun range owner Jan Morgan last week publicly declared her business a “Muslim-Free zone.” Although this odious and unlawful declaration has been removed from her Facebook page, a message on Morgan’s Twitter account states that the rule still stands.
In a diatribe justifying her decision, Morgan wrongly claims that Islam is not a religion. And therefore, she erroneously concludes that Muslims are not entitled to First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom. Morgan also falsely asserts that she has the option to bar Muslim patrons from her gun range. But this ban blatantly violates the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993, which prohibits “… any establishment, either licensed of unlicensed, that supplies … services to general public … “ from discriminating against a person “… because of … religion.”
Later admitting that the anti-Muslim ban disregards the law, Morgan nonetheless declared that she “will do whatever is necessary to provide a safe environment for my customers, even at the cost of the increased threats and legal problems this decision will likely provoke.” Although she relies on the Second Amendment to remain in business, Morgan wants to ignore federal and state Equal Protection Clause principles codified in anti-discrimination laws. Picking and choose among legal protections is simply not an option in our nation of laws, and Morgan would be wise to revoke her offensive ban against Muslim patrons.