THE Jewish owner of a gun shop in Colorado has offered to give rabbis semi-automatic rifles for free following the murder of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Mel Bernstein, who owns Dragon Arms near Colorado Springs, made the offer on TV.
“Let’s say there’s a fire in a synagogue, what do you grab?” he asked.
“You grab a fire extinguisher, right? OK, let’s say somebody comes in and starts shooting everybody.
“What are you going to grab? You grab your AR-15 or a rifle or a handgun.”
Bernstein, who goes by the name Dragonman, said of the gunman responsible for the massacre: “People sitting in the synagogue were sitting ducks — and nobody was stopping him.
“You have to have the tool to fight back. This is the tool, and I’m donating these to the rabbis.”
Each gun that Bernstein hopes to give the local religious leaders is valued at an estimated £500.
The Western Journal newspaper reported that each rabbi would have to pass a background check to take possession of the weapon.
Rabbi Jeff Ader, of Temple Beit Torah in Colorado Springs, said he thought the offer was very generous and thoughtful, and that he’d have to think about it.
However, Scott Levin, of America’s Anti-Defamation League, said that a rabbi with a gun causes image issues and a potential disruption of the sanctity of a synagogue. Mr Levin also said that he believes there should be panic buttons installed in synagogues and that he’s fine with armed security personnel, but that armed clergy sends the wrong message.
After the shootings, President Donald Trump said: “This is a case where, if they had an armed guard inside, they may have been able to stop him [the gunman] immediately. Maybe there would have been nobody killed.”
But Californian Democrat Representative Adam Schiff, said: “I certainly don’t agree with his suggestion that this could have been avoided or mitigated if they’d had someone armed in the synagogue.
“That’s not the answer.
“The broader issue is what kind of climate are we creating in the country.”
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