Fed up with his perceived acceptance of gay Americans and the shunning of firearms, a Michigan auto shop owner posted a message on Facebook offering a discount to gun owners and a refusal to serve those who are openly gay all in the “spirit of freedom.”
Brian Klawiter, who owns Dieseltec Automotive Repair in Grandville, wrote the message on April 14 detailing a dichotomy he sees as unfair (adding emphasis by writing words in all caps).
“Our rights as conservative Americans are being squashed more and more everyday. Apparently if you are white (or close to it), you have a job, go to church, and own a gun… That translates into racists, privileged, bigot, conspiracy theorist,” he writes. “Too many of us say nothing. Well, freedom of speech isn’t just for Liberals, THEY are the ones that need to learn to “co-exist”, THEY are the ones who need to WORK to be ‘equal.’”
“Guns ARE allowed at DIESELTEC, so much so in fact that we will offer a discount if you bring in your gun,” he continues, adding, “I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)”
Klawiter told Guns.com that there was no single reason he posted the rant, which has resulted in a flood of critics posting gay Internet memes to his page. “It just builds up. It was just time to say something and throw it out there,” he said, referring to the issues.
Both gay rights and gun rights have been expanded at the state level across the country during the past few years. Like dominoes, same sex marriage bans have been overturned in 26 states. As for gun rights, more than 70 laws loosening gun restrictions have been passed across the country since 2013.
To gay gun owners, Klawiter said that he doesn’t want to know if a person is gay and he thinks marriage stems from religion, which he interprets as condemning homosexuality, but he “would support every American’s right to own a gun.”
He also added that he is not looking for fundraising, which has happened for other small businesses finding themselves in similar situations, and said today on Facebook that he welcomes others opinions.
Chris Cheng, a man who embodies both worlds, is an openly gay professional shooter. He competed and won on the show Top Shot, and is now a commentator with the National Rifle Association. When he opened up about his sexuality in 2013, overall he was accepted in the gun world despite some sharing sentiments similar to Klawiter’s.
“It’s un-American to discriminate against anyone. I’m gay, and I didn’t have a choice in the matter. If you think being gay is a choice then ask yourself, when did you choose to be straight?” Cheng said in response to Klawiter’s message.
“Whether you’re gay or a gun owner, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone else then the government should leave you alone. For me, that philosophy extends to the public where if you aren’t being physically hurt then let things be. If someone is simply offended by a gay person or a gun owner, then that’s too bad,” he said.
Cheng also touched on Klawiter’s expressed understanding of Christianity. “The Facebook post is the equivalent of putting a “No Gays Allowed” sign in front of his shop, and while the owner sees himself being a good Christian, I disagree. I challenge the notion that Jesus discriminates, when we all know he is about love and acceptance,” he said.
“I don’t expect everyone to agree with LGBT or gun issues — this is all about nurturing a mutual respect for differing opinions,” Cheng added. “We can agree to disagree in a civil manner.”