Most universities want guns off their campus. Liberty University, on the other hand, is going down another route and actually wants as many of its students to carry weapons. Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, called on students to get permits to carry concealed weapons, noting they can take “a free course” right on campus. Having more guns on campus could help those in the university fight back against any kind of attack like the one that happened in California on Wednesday that killed 14 people, he argued.
“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Falwell told an estimated 10,000 members of the university community at convocation Friday. Falwell spoke for a few minutes after former Sen. Jim DeMint. The audience loudly cheered him on. “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Falwell said at one point.
The son of the late Jerry Falwell Sr. characterized as ridiculous that some would think the appropriate response to attacks is to push for more gun control. “It just blows my mind when I see the president of the United States say that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said. “If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now,” he smiled as the crowd cheered. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know.”
Talking to the Washington Post, Falwell said his reference to “those Muslims” related specifically to Islamic terrorists, particularly those who launched the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Falwell was a bit more detailed with the Associated Press, saying he was particularly referring to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the couple who launched the San Bernardino attack. “That’s the only thing I would clarify,” Falwell told the Washington Post.
“I’m not backing down,” Falwell said, according to the News and Advance. “If I had to say it again, I would say it louder because it was hard to hear with the students talking.”
More than 14,500 students attend Liberty University’s campus in Lynchburg, Virginia while some 95,000 take online courses.
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton criticized Falwell for his remarks, saying those types of statements really only help extremists obtain more support. “This is the kind of deplorable, not only hateful, response to a legitimate security issue, but it is giving aid and comfort to ISIS and other radical jihadists,” Clinton told ABC News on Sunday. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also criticized Falwell, calling his comments “rash and repugnant.”