An armed member of a volunteer group guarding an Oklahoma gun store that recently declared itself “Muslim-free” has accidentally shot himself, according to local media.
The Oktaha store, named Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear, drew national attention last week when the manager, an Iraqi vet, declared the new policy in response to last month’s deadly shooting at a military recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“I didn’t want any terrorists, or Muslims, cult, whatever you want to call them, training on my gun range,” Chad Neal said. “There is a military recruiting station in the mall in Muskogee, and I thought this was one thing I could do to help protect our local soldiers.”
The armed civilians showed up after store owners said they had gotten death threats over the new policy.
Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said one of the volunteers dropped his gun on Tuesday and a bullet hit in the arm. Pearson did not identify the man.
Pearson expressed concern about how some of the guards were handling their weapons.
“I saw several of those gentlemen out there yesterday,” Pearson told muskogeenow.com. “The way they were holding their weapons, with the fingers on the triggers, you can tell a couple of these gentlemen have no idea about weapons safety. It’s like the Clampetts have come to town.”
The sheriff said on Monday that his office was monitoring the situation.
“Everybody is entitled to say what they feel, and the other people are entitled to tell them how they feel about their opinion,” he told the station. “When that gets out of control, that’s where we come in. The only thing that I ask, if they are true patriots, that when the threats do come or the undesirables do show up, call us and allow us to handle it.”
In a related development, Muslim protesters from California arrived at the shop on Tuesday after the shooting incident, muskofeenow.com reports.
Chris Martin, 49, of Riverside, Calif., said he is a Desert Storm veteran who converted to Islam while serving in the U.S. Navy.
Martin told muskogeenow.com that he and his daughter drove straight through from California after hearing about the store’s “Muslim-free” policy.
“I thought I would pull over at some point and sleep, but I didn’t. I just kept going,” Martin said. “If me being here doesn’t change anything, it is what it is. At least I got a chance to say that.”
Leif M. Wright, a reporter for muskogeenow.com, said several members of the volunteer guard group saw Martin drive up and motioned to the group to get him and his daughter off the property.
“He’s cool,” one of the volunteers, who called himself “Eagle One,” told the rest of the group. The store’s owner later came and asked Martin and all news media to leave the property, Wright reports.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which tracks businesses that ban Muslims, has called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the store’s policy.