Florida gun shop owner declares store 'Muslim-free zone'

Move comes after a shooting rampage in Tennessee that left at least four Marines and a Navy sailor dead last week

Web Desk July 22, 2015

After last week’s shooting rampage in Tennessee that left at least four Marines and a Navy sailor dead, a businessman in Florida has declared his gun shop a ‘Muslim-free zone’.

“I will not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots,” Andy Hallinan said, in a video posted on his gun shop’s Facebook page on Saturday.

Hallinan went on to add, “I have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all patriots in my community, and so effective immediately, I’m declaring Florida Gun Supply as a Muslim-free zone.”

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, a Muslim, who carried out the recent shooting rampage in Tennessee, was born in Kuwait and travelled to Qatar at least once during a 2014 trip to the Middle East.

Read: Murderous rampage: Probe of US shooting suspect focuses on Mideast travel

While the investigators are still trying to piece together the Abdulazeez’s travels to the region to see if he was radicalised by some militant group in the Middle East region, they have so far not been able to determine whether he remained in contact with militant groups or individuals.

Two years earlier, Abdulazeez, who grew up mostly in Tennessee and was reportedly a naturalised US citizen, had wrote about having suicidal thoughts and ‘becoming a martyr’ after losing his job over drug usage, ABC News reported quoting his diary and family.

Meanwhile, Hallinan’s plans to enforce his prohibition on Muslims remain unclear as he told Florida television station WFLA that he does not plan on asking his patrons about their religious affiliation.

In a video message which has already gone viral with more than 40,000 views, Hillinan tells his viewers that he sees it as his duty to keep Muslims out of his shop.

“We are in battle, patriots, but not only with Islamic extremism,” he said and added, “We’re also in battle against 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.”

Spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Ibrahim Hooper, however, termed the Hallinan video an attempt to stir up publicity for his gun shop while claiming the prohibition was blatantly illegal.

Read: Chapel Hill: Three Muslim students killed in US shooting

Hallinan has already agreed to allow a Flordia member of CAIR to attend a concealed-weapons training course at his gun shop later this week, Hooper added. However, Hallinan did not respond to a message seeking his comment.

This isn’t the first time a business has tried to declare a so-called Muslim-free zone. Last year, the owner of a shooting range in Hot Springs had said she was prohibiting Muslims from shooting on her property, citing security concerns after the Boston Marathon bombing and the September 11 attacks. The Justice Department had confirmed in April it was monitoring the Arkansas gun range after requests by CAIR and the ACLU to do so.

The CAIR has called on the Justice Department to investigate possible federal civil rights violations by the Florida and New Hampshire businesses.

“These bigoted declarations are no different than 'whites only' signs posted in businesses during a period of our nation's history that we had hoped was over," Hooper said and added, “The Department of Justice must investigate these hate-filled and un-American business practices to determine whether federal civil rights laws are being violated.”

This article originally appeared on USA Today.

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