The businessman is willing to give a free AR-15 and 100 rounds of ammunition to any local rabbi who wants one.
The offer was made by Mel Bernstein, who is Jewish himself and the owner of Dragonman’s, which is a gun range, military museum paintball center, and weapon retailer outside Colorado Springs.
The value of the gifts that Bernstein hopes to give the local religious leaders is an estimated $650 each, and the store was clear that each rabbi would still have to pass a background check in order to take possession of the weapon.
KOAA reported that Bernstein would also offer training to go along with the rabbis’ newly acquired firearms.
When interviewed by KOAA, Bernstein explained why he believes his donation would make a difference.
“Let’s say there’s a fire in a synagogue, what do you grab?” Bernstein asked. “You grab a fire extinguisher, right?”
“Let’s say somebody comes in and starts shooting everybody, what are you going to grab?” Bernstein went on. “You grab your AR-15, or a rifle or a handgun. You gotta fight back.”
Bernstein said he felt the “people sitting in the synagogue they were sitting ducks,” and “nobody’s stopping him, ya know?”
“You have to have the tool to fight back, and this is the tool, and I’m donating these to the rabbis,” Bernstein said.
According to KOAA, Scott Levin with the Colorado Anti Defamation League does not appreciate the idea of Bernstein’s gift.
Levin said he believes that a rabbi with a gun causes image issues, and believes it would be a disruption.
The Defamation League representative suggested instead that there be a panic button installed.
Bernstein’s sentiment is one that President Donald Trump shared, however. On the day of the Pittsburgh shooting, Trump said that “results would have been far better” if there had been someone inside that were armed, TIME reported.
“If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better,” the president said. “If they had some kind of protection within the temple it could have been a much better situation. They didn’t.”
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