The president of Liberty University in Virginia, Jerry Falwell Jr., urged his student body to go out and get concealed carry permits on Friday so that they “could end those Muslims before they walked in.”
The son of late religious-right leader, Jerry Falwell Sr., made the remarks to large applause during an impassioned speech about guns and mass shootings during the Christian school’s convocation.
“It just blows my mind that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said as the crowd cheered. “If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now…,” he began, as thunderous applause ensued. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he laughed.
He then spoke about killing Muslims “before they even walk in”, to even more thunderous applause.
“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he said, interrupted again by massive applause, “and killed them.”
He then reminded his students that they have a free gun course at the university and urged his students to take advantage.
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”
Falwell told the Washington Post that he owns many guns, but was not a concealed carrier until about a year ago. He is now carrying on campus due to the massacre in San Bernardino. He also explained to the Post that when he said “Muslims,” he meant “Islamic Terrorists,” but apparently words don’t matter when fear-mongering against other religions.
“If I had to say what I said again, I’d say exactly the same thing,” Falwell stated.
On Saturday, spokesperson for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliff issued a statement condemning Falwell’s speech.
“My administration is committed to making Virginia an open and welcoming Commonwealth, while also ensuring the safety of all of our citizens. Mr. Falwell’s rash and repugnant comments detract from both of those crucial goals,” McAuliffe said. “Those of us in leadership positions, whether in government or education, must take care to remember the tremendous harm that can result from reckless words.”
Falwell estimates that 15-20 of the school’s students are Muslim, but stated that support for his words is “almost” universal on campus.
The university president also reportedly retweeted a tweet that read “SUCK IT, Muslim extremists,” with a link to the weapons course Liberty offers, but it has since been deleted.
The school is a popular campaign stop for politicians who wish to win favorability among the religious-right, although Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders also bravely made a stop there this year calling for both parties to work together for a common good.
Some may argue that the dangerous rhetoric being spewed by the religious-right is also extremism, and Falwell may have more in common with those he fears than he would like to admit.
Featured image via Liberty University