LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -- A local Muslim woman is hoping the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct an investigation on a Missouri gun range due to what she calls racial discrimination.
KCTV5’s Greg Payne spoke with the CEO of the range, who believes they did nothing wrong.
“I’ve been to other gun ranges before in the past and I have never had any issues like I had with this gun range,” Rania Barakat said.
On Jan. 1 of this year, Barakat went to the Frontier Justice gun range in Lee’s Summit,
“My husband has actually been here multiple times with his friends and has had no issues,” she said.
After she filled out her waiver and handed her ID to the cashier, she got a response she wasn’t expecting.
“As we were getting ready to pay, she had told me that I have to take my scarf off in order to go into the gun range and shoot,” she said.
She was wearing a hijab, which is a religious head covering some Muslim women wear when in public.
“I’ve encountered racism before, but it was never to the point that somebody had told me to remove my scarf in order to enter a facility or do any type of activity like this,” Barakat said.
Range officials said they were not trying to discriminate against the customer but were instead doing that for safety reasons and to protect the customer.
“Any pieces of clothing that can perhaps be a safety issue and catch brass or potentially cause risk for burns,” said Mike Brown, CEO of Frontier Justice.
“It’s not only burns, but it’s the reaction as you are getting burned,” he explained. “A lot of times we see people pointing guns at other people when they are moving around after they are being burned.”
It’s a scenario the CEO said can be fatal and that it’s the reason they have a very strict dress code.
He said he’s spoken with Barakat about the guidelines and has given her alternatives.
“She is more than welcome to use any of the services we provide other than being on the range if she’s not willing to adhere to our safety guidelines,” he said.
This specific policy is one that several people who have reviewed the business have complained about. It’s one that Barakat, along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, will keep fighting.
“I will not allow anyone or anything to become between my hijab nor my religion,” Barakat said.
“We welcome everybody into our stores and so it hurts my feelings when someone accuses of an intention that is not our intention,” Brown said.