A new assault rifle being manufactured in central Florida has drawn fire after the gunmaker branded it the “Crusader” and said it was designed “to never be used by Muslim terrorists.”
Spike’s Tactical in Apopka etched its new $1,395 AR-15 with a Bible verse that says “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle,” MyFoxOrlando reported.
Company spokesman Ben Thomas, a former Navy SEAL, said the scripture is something of an insurance policy to keep it out of the hands of terrorists. The idea came to him during the weapon's development. At the time, the U.S. government was preparing to arm rebel groups in Syria.
“When you make a rifle, you have to understand that it could be used for ill deeds if it got in the wrong hands,” Thomas told the station.
The gun went on sale this week and was quickly denounced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Florida, according to MyFoxOrlando.
“Sadly, this manufacturer’s fancy new gun won’t do anything to stop the real threat in America: the escalating problem of gun violence,” the council told the station. “This is just another shameful marketing ploy intended to profit from the promotion of hatred, division, and violence.”
Thomas defended the Crusader, saying he would like to take a weapon with scripture etched on the side into battle and that the gun is not meant to be racist.
“We didn’t say ‘No Muslims,’” he said.
The scripture is etched on one side of the magazine. Etched on the other is a symbol of a cross that dates from the Crusades of the Middle Ages.
Thomas told the Orlando Sentinel the company's owners did not intend to insult or antagonize Muslims.
He told the paper the owners believe America and much of the world is threatened by Islamic terrorism and the weapon is a symbol of shared Christian values and the right to defend themselves.
Thomas also told the paper the safety selector that controls the Crusader's trigger has three settings: Peace, War and God Wills It.