LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) – After hearing push-back from thousands of people across the country based on his statement referring to Muslims, Jerry Falwell, Jr. is speaking out to set the record straight.
People opposing his statement from last week’s convocation at Liberty include Governor Terry McAuliffe and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
When WSLS 10 met with Jerry Falwell, Jr. Tuesday, he spoke candidly about his remarks last week, saying he doesn’t regret anything he said about Muslims, or about his opposition to the President’s push for more gun control.
Falwell’s exact words that sparked controversy were “I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in killing.”
Falwell continued, urging increased gun ownership and igniting a debate throughout the country on gun control, but it also brought criticism, saying he may have been marginalizing a religion in the process.
WSLS 10 asked him Tuesday to clarify his meaning, and why he chose the word ‘Muslim’ instead of the word ‘terrorist’.
“Terrorist would have been a good word to use too, I just was referring to those particular people, and they were motivated by their religion, so it was a relevant term for that event,” said Falwell.
Referring to the terrorists in San Bernardino that murdered 14 people at a Christmas party.
Falwell says if someone there had been carrying a weapon, the tragedy might have been avoided.
Being the leader of the United States largest Christian university, WSLS asked how he feels guns fit in with his faith.
“If these terrorists had slapped me on the cheek, I would have turned the other cheek, but that’s not what they did,” said Falwell. “Jesus in Luke 22:36 said to his disciples if you have to sell your coat to buy a sword, do it, because he knew trouble was coming.”
Students at convocation Friday cheered Falwell’s comments.
Student class president Quincy Thompson says he supports the president, and being on one of America’s only college campuses that allows students to carry guns actually makes him feel safer.
“I’m assured in light of anything that would happen, that there would be students that have gone through the necessary procedures and have gotten their permits that would be able to respond to situations like that appropriately,” said Thompson.
Since Friday, Falwell says around 100 students have called to sign up for Liberty’s concealed carry class.
“I know many students are appreciative and I plan on taking that class myself here next semester,” said Thompson.
Falwell says he wouldn’t take back what he said, he just wishes the crowd hadn’t drowned him out in support.
“That’s my only regret, just wish I had said it louder,” said Falwell.
Liberty plans to allow students to bring guns into their dorm rooms starting next Spring, and Falwell says he hopes that other schools follow in their footsteps.
Right now, students over 21 are allowed to carry guns on school grounds, but must leave them in their cars before entering the dormitories.