A civil rights group is requesting the U.S. Department of Justice investigate a Kansas City gun range after a Muslim woman who refused to remove her hijab was not allowed to use the range.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claims that employees at Frontier Justice discriminated against Rania Barakat due to her religion.
“I’ve encountered racism before, but it was never to the point that someone has told me to remove my scarf in order to enter a facility to do any type of activity like this,” Barakat told the Kansas City Star.
Her husband had used the range before, and she was visiting with him for the first time.
“He wanted to take me there for a fun experience, instead we experienced racism and discrimination,” she said.
There’s just one problem with Barakat’s story: the range has had a long-standing dress code that prohibits any type of head covering except “forward-facing baseball caps.”
“We cannot have a head covering on the range that could potentially catch brass and cause an adverse and unsafe movement of a person holding a firearm,” the company told the Star. “There are hundreds of videos of persons on a range that have brass hit their skin, who then flinch and have killed bystanders because of the uncontrolled action in response to the hot brass.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a hoodie or a head scarf, potential hazard is there and as a business catering to the public, we cannot assume this risk.”
Even a cursory search online reveals videos like the one below, and anyone who has visited a gun range knows how difficult it can be to maintain control with hot brass pressing against the skin. It’s easy to imagine a piece of brass getting caught in a hoodie, scarf, or hijab and creating a potentially dangerous situation.
In addition, GunsAmerica has confirmed that Frontier Justice didn’t simply invent the policy after learning about a potential investigation. We looked at the metadata of an old PDF containing Frontier Justice’s Range Rules and found that the document was created on April 11, 2019 – long before Barakat tried to use the range.
The document’s “Dress Code” section includes nine items of prohibited apparel, only one of which has anything to do with head coverings: “Hats, caps, bandanas or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward,” it reads.
The current version of the document contains the same prohibition against head coverings.
Frontier Justice President Bren Brown denies that his facility discriminates against anyone of the basis of their religion.
“It saddens us that anyone would say we are not inclusive, given that we serve all races and religions every single day in all of our stores,” Brown said in a written statement. “We pride ourselves on this fact, and we strongly believe in America and the second amendment that is for every single American. Period.”