The owner of a Hot Springs gun range, who gained national attention after declaring her business “Muslim-free,” suggested this week she may seek a spot in the 2018 Arkansas gubernatorial race.
“People have by the thousands come to me and said you’re the only person with a large enough base to do something about the problems we’re having in our state and to deal with the establishment Republican Party that is not listening to the needs of the people,” Jan Morgan told the Associated Press.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Morgan called Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s actions during his first term “completely unacceptable.” She said Hutchinson “campaigns like a conservative Republican but governs like a liberal Democrat.”
Taxes and other revenue-related issues, healthcare, religious freedom, single-sex use of restrooms, and the Second Amendment are among Morgan’s current beefs with Hutchinson, who previously announced his plans to seek re-election, and already has more than $1 million in his campaign account. Morgan said she is currently forming an exploratory committee, and will soon launch a statewide listening tour before she decides on whether or not to enter the race.
Hutchinson has served in public life on and off since the early 1980s, when he started as a U.S. Attorney in Arkansas under former President Ronald Reagan. Since then, he’s served as a Congressman and headed the Drug Enforcement Administration. He also has long ties to the National Rifle Association for which he headed the organization’s National School Shield program in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.
Morgan made national headlines in 2014 after she declared her business, the Gun Cave Indoor Firing Range, a “Muslim-free” zone. “Because the nature of my business involves firearms and shooting firearms in an enclosed environment, my patrons are not comfortable being around Muslims who align themselves with a religion that clearly commands hate, murder, and violence against all non Muslims,” Morgan said when announcing the decision, which was met with both praise and stark criticism.
Morgan, who said she has thoroughly studied the Koran, the holy book of Islam, called Islam a “terrorist organization.” Morgan also claims that her “life has been threatened repeatedly by Muslims.”
About four months after the announcement to make her gun range “Muslim-free,” Morgan was again thrust into the spotlight after two local residents – a self-described brown-skinned father and son – were told by Morgan to leave the business. The son said Morgan informed them that the range was a “Muslim-free” zone, but when the father asked about the ban, she kicked them both out. Morgan admitted to throwing them out, but said she did so because their behavior was erratic. She said it had nothing to do with the color of their skin.