Jan Morgan, the Hot Springs gun range owner, made her gubernatorial candidacy official today, filing for the Republican primary against incumbent Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

She’d urged supporters to meet on the Capitol steps at 11:30 a.m. But, instead, she pulled up in a red Dodge Ram, idled by the car for 15minutes with the steps empty, and walked into the Capitol  to file.

After filing, she took about 10 minutes of questions with some now familiar answers.

She labeled Hutchison a “progressive,” called (with few specifics) for lower government spending and taxes, defended her ban of Muslims at her gun range and criticized media.

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“People overwhelmingly told me was they wanted a choice. Certainly Republicans wanted a choice. And we’re going to give them one,” she said.


She complained of increases in spending by Hutchinson’s administration. And claimed that folks are being “taxed into poverty” and businesses regulated out of business

“We are by income the poorest population in America, and yet we’re the most heavily taxed,” she said. “We’ve had an entire term to make significant progress in taking some of that tax burden off the backs of the people. That’s what conservative leadership does. And we haven’t seen that. In fact, we’ve seen tax increases. You’ve got what? A soda tax, a candy tax, an increased tire tax, a digital downloads tax. And now the governor’s talking about, next year, proposing a $217 million gas tax hike. OK? The people have said: ‘enough is enough. We’re taxed enough already. It’s time for change.'”

Asked specifically what she’d cut, Morgan said certain legislators were helping, some in secret. But she wouldn’t list them. And while saying government was wastesful, she didn’t give specific examples.

In defending her Muslim ban (which drew attention when she enforced it against some dark-skinned people who were not, it turned out, Muslims), she said operating “a private club, where people are handling lethal weapons within a couple feet of each other requires a higher level of discernment than your average coffee-donut shop.” She said in government it’s a “totally different ball game” and she would follow  “laws regulating religious liberty in this state.”

Asked by AP reporter Andrew DeMillo if she’s OK with a business discriminating based on religion, she responded: “Once again, Andrew, you miss what I said. I said that when you run a facility where people are handling lethal weapons within a couple feet of each other that requires a higher level of discernment. … People are handling lethal weapons. I make no apologies for the rules and the decisions that I’ve made, and put in place, in order to make sure that people who are handling lethal weapons in my facility are in a safe environment.”

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A minute or so later, Morgan ended questioning and departed.