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Judge throws out complaint against 'Muslim-free zone' gun shop

Published Nov. 29, 2015

A federal judge has dismissed a complaint filed by a Muslim advocacy organization claiming that an Inverness gun shop violated the Civil Rights Act by declaring itself a "Muslim-free zone."

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom ruled that because Florida Gun Supply's policy did not present an imminent and concrete threat to Muslim people, she did not have the authority to make a decision on the case, according to her order, which was filed Monday in federal court in Miami.

"The complaint contains only bald, conclusory allegations devoid of factual enhancement," the order says.

In July, store owner Andy Hallinan declared his store a "Muslim-free zone" in a video that has almost 200,000 views on YouTube. The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit based on religious discrimination.

"Nothing is more un-American than violating U.S. laws that are meant to protect the principles outlining the Constitution," the group's executive director, Hassan Shibly, said in a July press release. "We cannot allow our enemies to divide us and turn us against each other using terrorism, fear and bigotry."

Neither party could immediately be reached Saturday for comment.

On Friday, Hallinan responded to the ruling in a video posted to the store's Facebook page.

"We need to make sure that we're putting guns in people's hands that are going to do good things in the community with them, like keeping peace, not blowing other people up," he said.

He ended the video with offering to his customers: a "Muslim-free zone" bumper sticker and a shooting target showing a bearded man wearing a turban and holding an assault rifle.

Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or kvarn@tampabay.com. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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