Gun ranges have rules.
Patrons at gun rights have rights.
These two facts are indisputable. The problem, though, is when a range rule runs into someone’s rights. For better or worse, that’s what’s at the heart of a lawsuit filed earlier this week in federal court after a gun range refused to allow a Muslim woman to wear a hijab on the range.
A firearms store and gun range in suburban Kansas City refused to let a Muslim woman use the range unless she removed her hijab, a Muslim civil rights organization alleged in a federal lawsuit.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the law firm of Baldwin & Vernon in Independence alleges that the gun range at Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit enforces its dress code in a discriminatory way that disproportionately affects Muslim women.
OK, I just have to say that while this may be technically correct, it’s also irrelevant. If Catholic women wore hijabs, the issues would be the same for the range, issues we’ll get into in a moment.
Rania Barakat and her husband went to Frontier Justice on Jan. 1, 2020, to shoot at its gun range. According to the lawsuit, Barakat was told she would not be allowed to use the range unless she removed her hijab, a religious head covering worn by some Muslim women.
Frontier Justice officials said in a statement posted on Facebook that the dress code rules, which have been in place since the store opened in 2015, are designed to protect people from being burned by expended brass and are not discriminatory.
The gun range requires shooters to remove all head coverings except baseball caps facing forward. A store manager explained that shrapnel could cause the hijab and skin to burn.
And he’s right.
It’s the same reason women shouldn’t wear low-cut tops to the range. When a gun is fired, brass flies all over the place.
Now, how much of a danger is a hijab? I honestly don’t know. I’ve never seen brass get caught in one, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen regularly. I mean, there haven’t been a lot of Muslim women shooting at my local ranges, so I’ll admit my ignorance here.
However, the possibility actually does exist, so I understand the gun range having such a rule in place. It also appears to impact scarves and pretty much any other head covering, which means it’s not discriminatory.
Further, let’s also understand that this store is private property. They shouldn’t be required to provide services to anyone who doesn’t wish to comply with their rules. Don’t like the rules? Then you’re free to seek out another gun range to give your money to.
In fact, if you don’t like the rules, you should.
Honestly, there’s a part of me that wonders if the woman, Rania Barakat, and her husband weren’t looking to stir up a little trouble for a local range. There are people who go into businesses looking for things to sue over, after all, so I suspect this was one of those cases.
Still, this is going to be a pain in the butt for the range owners to deal with. In the meantime, though, Barakat isn’t going to be shooting at that gun range, that’s for sure.