Vet tries to test Florida gun shop's "Muslim free zone" - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Vet tries to test Florida gun shop's "Muslim free zone"

INVERNESS, Fla. - A U.S. veteran traveled nearly 2,500 miles to test an Inverness gun store owner’s controversial policy to not serve the Muslim community.

But as soon as he arrived the plan began to go off track.

"I told them [ATF] what I was going to do, but I told them I'm not going to be confrontational or anything," Chris Martin said. "Other than attend the training class."

Martin talked to the FBI on his cellphone. The call came in moments after I arrived to his Inverness motel room.

"There's nothing else I can say," said Martin before finally hanging up. 

Federal agents seemed on edge as they tried to determine the California man’s intent, stopping just short of asking the former Navy medic to call off his mission.

Martin came to meet Citrus County gun shop owner Andy Hallinan. He was brought here after seeing Hallinan's YouTube video declaring his gun store a "Muslim free zone."

But Martin wants to test that theory and signed up for Tuesday night’s gun training class.

"Somebody is trying to limit or prevent or restrict constitutional rights that I feel I fought for, I fought for those rights," Martin said.

Martin served in Desert Storm, and after being honorably discharged in 1996, he became a Muslim.

That’s why he now finds himself in a little town called Inverness. ATF agents were waiting for Martin just as he began to leave for the class.

"They told me that they had the gun shop closed today, and they've actually been following me I guess since I got here," Martin said.

Martin decided to go to the store anyway.

We reached out to ATF, which says it was Hallinan who chose to close down after hearing Martin's plans.

Over the phone, Hallinan said he felt like he's been held captive in his own home and feared for his life.

But even if Martin’s plan was foiled, he feels his message was heard loud and clear.

"You don't have to like what you don't know or don't prefer. You don't have to. However that doesn't give you the right to stomp on other people’s rights," Martin said.

CAIR-Florida released a statement, saying the gun shop owner's policy is harmful to all Americans:

CAIR-FL is extremely concerned to learn that a U.S. Navy veteran who honorable served our nation was apparently denied services by Florida Gun Supply because of the veteran's faith. Our nation's heroes fought and died to preserve the liberty of all Americans to exercise their freedom without discrimination based on race or religion. Such illegal discrimination is precisely why CAIR-FL had objected to FGS's offensive and illegal Muslim-free policy. It is harmful to all Americans, regardless of their race or religion, including those who served in our nations armed forces. 

--

Hassan Shibly, Esq.
CAIR Florida
Chief Executive Director

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