MASON, Texas -- It was a message intended to bring in some extra business. A radio ad for a concealed handgun class at Keller's Riverside Store in Mason, located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, is causing controversy.
"We will attempt to teach you all the necessary information you need to obtain your C.H.L.," the ad stated. Forty-five seconds in, the advertisement added a disclaimer.
"If you are a socialist liberal and or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as under the law."
The ad continues, going on to say,"If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame; I am Crockett Keller, thank you and God bless America."
Behind his store off Highway 87 two hours northwest of Austin, 65-year-old Crockett Keller teaches concealed carry courses to earn a few extra dollars. Courses that, he wants to make clear, are not for everyone.
"I call it exercising my right to choose who I instruct in how to use a dangerous weapon," said Keller.
The instructor's $175 advertisement bought six days worth of air time on Mason's hometown radio station KHLB. The ad stopped airing Tuesday, but its message didn't stop there. The radio spot hit YouTube and took off, getting 1,000 views the first day. It had 17,000 by day three.
On Thursday, Keller defended the ad. "I'm not going to do it, I will give up my license to teach before I will teach them."
The "them" Keller refers to are voters of President Obama or non-Christian Muslims.
"The fact is if you are a devout Muslim then you cannot be a true American," said Keller. "Why should I arm these people to kill me, that's suicide."
It's a stance Keller isn't alone on. During this interview the instructor fielded nearly 40 calls congratulating him for the ad. But their sentiment isn't shared by all.
"It definitely got people's attention, that's for sure," said Mason resident Deborah Hofman. The local business owner heard the ad last week and believes it's too aggressive.
"Some people are really offended or agree with him; you don't find too much of a middle ground," she said.
Dividing maybe, but Keller says only two negative responses have come his way.
"I just will not teach these people," said Keller. "If I see them on the road, I'll wave at them if they wave at me. If I meet them on the street, I'll be polite as they are to me, that's my nature; I believe in being polite and honest and matter of fact."
After hearing of Keller's ad, The Texas Department of Public Safety released the following statement:
"The Texas Department of Public Safety certifies individuals to teach coursework and provide training required to be taken by individuals seeking to qualify for a Texas concealed handgun license. Certified instructors are required to comply with all applicable state and federal statutes. Conduct by an instructor that denied service to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion would place that instructor’s certification by the Department at risk of suspension or revocation. The Department became aware of the statements in question yesterday and has begun an investigation into the matter. The Department will take appropriate administrative action based on the findings from the investigation."