Last year, when Arkansas gun range owner Jan Morgan announced that she would ban Muslims from patronizing her business, we noted that Morgan is a frequent speaker at conservative events — she had a speaking slot at the 2013 Values Voter Summit — and has fans among prominent gun activists, including Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt, who wanted to give Morgan an award for her “Muslim-free” policy.
We think this bears repeating now that a report is making the rounds that Morgan recently turned away a father and son of South Asian descent after asking them if they were Muslim.
The Arkansas Times talked with the young man who was reportedly turned away along with his father:
"My dad and I used to go to this gun range," said the young man, who asked not to be identified by name, "but we haven’t had as much of a chance to go in recent years since I've been at college. It's changed ownership recently."
"When we went in, a woman asked, ‘Where are you guys from?’ We told her we were from Hot Springs. She said, "this is a Muslim free shooting range," so if we are [Muslim] and if we don’t like the rule, then leave. We said that we’re not Muslim, but my dad asked, ‘Why is it Muslim free?’ and they started having a conversation. Then, all of a sudden, I don’t know what went wrong, but she stopped us from filling out the paperwork and said ‘I don’t think you guys should be here.’ She told us to leave or she’d call the cops on us."
Not wanting to cause a scene, they left.
"We’re brown; I don’t know if she assumed we were Muslim," he continued. "When she first asked us, she said, ‘I would hope if you were Muslim you guys wouldn't be cowards and would be up front about it.'" The student told the Times he was born in the U.S. and lived in Hot Springs for ten years before going to college in a different Arkansas town; he considers Hot Springs his home.
He recalls reading about the "Muslim free" shooting range, he says, but "I didn't know it was this place." Once he made the connection, he said, "I kept quiet because I just wanted to have some fun and shoot some guns." He says going shooting with his dad is just something they do occasionally: "father-son time, guy time."
In an interview with the Washington Post, Morgan denied turning the pair away because of their ethnicity and said she did so because they appeared to be “under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” But she did not back away from her ban on Muslim customers, explaining to the Post that the whole reason she opened her gun range was because she had received “death threats because of posting the truth about Islam.” She insisted that she won’t change her policy unless the Koran is altered to remove passages that she believes prescribe violence.
Morgan insisted that she doesn’t “believe all Muslims are terrorists,” although she seemed to say the opposite in a recent tweet:
If you align with a religion whose prophet is a mass murderer/pedophile that commands death to all non-Muslims, then YOU ARE A TERRORIST.— Jan Morgan (@JanMorganMedia) January 11, 2015
From the Post:
“I don’t believe all Muslims are terrorists,” Morgan said, adding she has “no idea which Muslims are going to be devout and follow those 109 dictates and those who won’t.” So in her mind, the safest thing to do is to ban all Muslims from her club. “I can’t trust that they can be safe to handle guns” in front of non-Muslims, she added.
There’s another reason Morgan doesn’t take much comfort in the vast numbers of Muslims who are not violent: She believes Islam will remain fundamentally a threat until the religion is permanently reformed by removing the more than 100 passages from the Koran that she believes demand violence from its followers.
Morgan isn’t alone in her belief. At the gun range, she said, “business is booming” since she announced the ban.
The gun range itself, in a way, owes its existence to Morgan’s interpretation of the Koran. “I didn’t even own a gun five years ago,” she said, adding that she learned to shoot because of “death threats because of posting the truth about Islam” on the internet. After that Morgan kept “training and training and training” until she became an instructor. Before all this, she worked in TV news — part of the media that has now become one of her biggest adversaries.
Last month, an Arkansas gun range owner named Jan Morgan got some national attention when she declared her business a “Muslim free zone,” writing on her website, “This is more than enough loss of life on my home soil at the hands of muslims to substantiate my position that muslims can and will follow the directives in their Koran and kill here at home.”
What many news reports missed is that Morgan is not just the owner of a single shooting range, but a national gun activist who has spoken at multiple events for the “religious liberty” group Liberty Counsel as well as Tea Party gatherings and last month’s misnamed “Two Million Bikers” rally against President Obama.
And Morgan has some friends in high places in the gun lobby. In an interview with Arizona-based radio host Josh Bernstein this week, Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt praised Morgan, saying that she was “on very sound ground” with her Muslim ban.
“I know there will be a lot of people that will be outraged at that, but we don’t facilitate murderers and if you read the Quran, it’s an instruction to go kill people, lots of them,” Pratt said. “And there are Muslims that don’t buy into that, well, how do I know which one you are?”
All of which reminded Pratt that he had been meaning to start giving out a Gun Owners of America award and Morgan “ought to get it.”
The group Two Million Bikers to DC organized its second annual rally on the National Mall yesterday, which, like its predecessor, fell far short of the goal expressed in the group’s name. Organizers said the event was meant to honor people killed in the 9/11 attacks as well as first responders and veterans – presumably that’s how they sold it to corporate sponsor Budweiser – but rally speakers also used the event to rail against President Barack Obama, Congress, and an array of right-wing targets, including gun control, Common Core educational standards, the EPA, regulation of small businesses, the destruction of free enterprise, the Bundy Ranch standoff between the BLM and armed protestors, and Obama’s purportedly fraudulent re-election.
Although organizers got pre-event press promising “thousands” of bikers – not 2 million – descending on the nation’s capital, I didn’t see more than a couple hundred at the event’s peak. Fewer than 50 were left to hear the final speakers. More than one speaker took note of the dispiritingly small crowd.
Those who made it to the Mall did get to hear some personal remembrances of 9-11 from a New York firefighter, a paramedic, and a clergyman who worked at Ground Zero, and a mother whose son joined the military in the wake of 9/11 and was killed overseas.
But uniting them and other speakers was hostility toward the Obama administration and anger at the perception that the president will not clearly identify Islamist extremism as the nation’s enemy. Among the conspiracy theories heard from the podium were the claim from Second Amendment activist and self-described “gun chick” Jan Morgan that the U.N. small arms treaty was about disarming Americans, and the assertion by “Pope” Dan Johnson that “NATO came together in a meeting and this administration signed that NATO pact to tell Christians or to tell any religion what they can and cannot do.” Morgan said she didn’t believe Obama had actually won re-election because she knows about votes counted in Barcelona, Spain, and dead people who voted six times.
Johnson, a Kentucky coordinator for the biker group, contrasted his remarks with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “I have a nightmare,” he yelled. America, he said, is living a nightmare at Ground Zero and a nightmare in the White House. The mother of a fallen serviceman said of President Obama, “We must get rid of him…we must get him out of our White House before he takes this nation down.”
Right-wing pundit Wayne Dupree railed against the media, which he said has given Obama a pass for six years. He complained that conservative activists have been demonized as racists. “This administration is racist,” he said. “Everybody in there is racist.”
“Entertainment” was provided by Madison Rising, a metal band that played songs they describe as patriotic. One in their first set contained the chorus, “We don't want to have to bring out guns but we're ready if it goes there.” That sort of rhetoric mirrors the theme of Larry Klayman’s failed revolutionary rally in D.C. last year, at which Two Million Bikers organizer Belinda Bee spoke. Manny Vega, a Marine vet and self-described “Three Percenter” also spoke at both rallies.
Vega, who as one of the final speakers faced a very sparse crowd, seemed bummed out by the small turnout. “There should be millions of people,” he said, recalling photos of Vietnam War protests filling the entire mall. “What are we doing? A couple patriots out here.” Vega said more truck drivers, waitresses, bikers, and mechanics need to get involved and get elected.
“I’ll be damned if I am 30 years old and I’m cursing the politicians in that Capitol Hill. My son’s going to be 30 years old gearing up, buying weapons, buying their armored vests. Who’d have thought that we’d live in a country where the American citizens are arming up to fight a tyrannical government, ‘cuz that is what it is. Who’d have thought? How many people here have aligned themselves with militias or are already prepping to go to war with the federal government? [Someone shouted ‘don’t raise your hands,’ but some folks did] To go to war? Who should go to war? No American citizen should go to war. I’ll tell you something, it’s changed. The relationship between the people and those bastards over there that are supposedly supposed to represent us. And they are not doing it.”
The event was also sponsored by Dinesh D’Souza’s “America: Imagine the World Without Her.” The day before the rally, D’Souza tweeted, “On 9/11 anniversary tomorrow I am speaking at huge biker rally on the national mall in Washington DC.” He sold some books -- nothing close to the huge number that his optimistic publisher had brought– and took pictures with fans. Unfortunately, I missed D’Souza’s comments when I took a break, but based on the speaker who followed him, part of D’Souza’s speech was spent slamming President Obama’s recent remarks about ISIS/ISIL.
In a speech at a South Carolina Tea Party convention earlier this month, gun activist Jan Morgan warned that tightening American gun laws could lead to genocide.
“Gun control has never been about guns. It’s about control,” said Morgan, who runs the group Armed American Woman. “In the twentieth century, folks, 170 million people have been annihilated by their own governments after being disarmed. So, don’t let anybody tell you that disarming America is going to make us a safer place.” The myth that gun control led to the genocides in Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union has been thoroughly debunked.
Early this morning, before the official opening of the Values Voter Summit, the Religious Right legal and advocacy group Liberty Counsel hosted “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” a breakfast panel on threats to the Second Amendment. On the menu: conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama and the United Nations plotting to disarm Americans, and rhetoric of resistance.
In addition to Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, the speakers were the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell (also a board member of the National Rifle Association) and gun-rights advocate Jan Morgan, who also appeared at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference earlier this year.
Morgan portrayed a United Nations treaty meant to restrict the illegal international trade in weapons as a UN plot to take Americans’ guns (false), and the Obama administration’s decision to sign the treaty as an ominous step. Blackwell portrayed the “assault” on the Second Amendment as an assault on the Constitution and on God himself, warning that nations that fall to tyranny or big-government socialism first must destroy the family, silence the church, and disarm their citizens. The Obama administration, he said, thinks it has replaced God in people’s lives. Asked how Americans should respond to the signing of the treaty, he said, “resist, resist, resist.”
Morgan celebrated the Colorado recall of two state senators who had supported the state’s new gun law, and she praised southern governors who she said are looking to put the “Firearm Freedom Act” into law in their states, which would threaten the arrest and prosecution of federal agents who try to enforce federal gun regulations in their state. She ended with a dramatic call for conservatives to “pull ourselves out of this pity party” and channel the fighting spirit of the founding fathers.