I believe this response goes farther than either Caleb or I did in excoriating Jan Morgan from banning muslims from her gun range, much of which I agree with. Reading some of the comments over at Caleb’s post, I was struck by how many folks don’t really get the context under which we’re arguing, so I thought I’d take a minute to explain it.
The key law at work in this context is Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on race color, religion, or national origin in “public accommodations.” When most people talk about the Civil Rights Act, they usually mean the 1964 Act. There could be some debate about whether a gun range is a public accommodation under the act, but I think it would be quite surprising if a court were to agree that it is not. There had been an attempt in the Civil Rights Act of 1875Â to use the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to reach a similar result, but the Supreme Court said no. The 1964 act relied heavily on Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce. So it has been established law for some time that this type of discrimination is unlawful.
There are some who argue that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went too far in regulating private behavior and limiting property rights. Barry Goldwater was one of the more famous opponents to Title II of the Civil Rights Act, but it’s likely his opposition cost him his bid for the Presidency. I do believe the libertarian argument against Title II of CRA64 is a legitimate one, is not based in a desire to perpetuate racism, or beyond debate. But politically,Â I’ve written before,Â opposition to CRA 64 is a non-starter, and probably will continue to be for some time.
It’s worth making sure people understand what the law currently says about what Jan Morgan is doing, and why I think that makes her a distasteful person to have on “our side.” Opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has never been a winning political position, and she’s bound to lose any lawsuit. This was attention grabbing, pure and simple.