Like the clichéd pig in a python, the saga of the anti-Muslim gun store in Florida has inched through media accounts for more than three months. Now that a judge has ruled in favor of the store owner, let's see who has processed the story best -- and who developed indigestion.
In July, Andy Hallinan declared a "Muslim Free Zone" at his Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Fla., vowing to sell his wares only to "fellow patriots" who would use the weapons for good -- "like keeping peace, not blowing people up," he says in a video.
That drew a lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which accused Hallinan of discrimination on the basis of religion. But a federal district judge in Fort Lauderdale threw out the lawsuit. As the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday:
CAIR said in the complaint that Florida Gun Supply was depriving Muslims of their civil rights by barring them from the store. CAIR's goal in the filing the complaint was to get a judge to enact an injunction to prevent Florida Gun Supply from discriminating based on religion.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom wrote in her ruling last week that CAIR failed to demonstrate that its members had actually been harmed by the "Muslim free" policy because none of its members had been denied access to Florida Gun Supply or its services.
But most of the five articles I read raise questions -- including religious ones -- that they don’t answer. They also lift heavily from one another (though with credit). The Sentinel itself borrows from a Washington Post report the previous day -- a story nearly three times as long, although Orlando is only about an hour east-southeast of Inverness.
WaPo is more meticulous, reporting that CAIR's suit cited Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The story also quotes Hassan Shibly, director of CAIR Florida, saying the gun store's stance is "not only illegal, it is bad for our country and makes us less safe and less free."
How bad? The Post has that covered too, quoting a Hallinan video: