The president of Liberty University urged students at the Christian school to carry concealed weapons on campus to counter any possible armed attack like the mass killings in San Bernardo, California.
"Let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here," President Jerry Falwell Jr. told students at a convocation Friday on the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus.
In his call to arms, Falwell encouraged students to take a free class offered by campus police to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Falwell said he decided to carry a gun after recent mass attacks.
"If anything, we need more people with concealed carry permits," he said.
The call to arms was met with rousing applause from students, but some said Falwell went too far when he appeared to be referring specifically to Muslims, The News & Advance reported.
"I've always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in," Falwell said.
Questioned by a student on social media, Falwell said he was referring to Islamic terrorists.
"I was referring to 'those Muslims' that just carried out attacks in Paris and California," he said in response on Twitter.
Reached later by the newspaper, Falwell said, "There are many good Muslims, many good moderate Muslims."
He did not respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking additional comment.
Unlike his late father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the younger Falwell has been a low-key leader at Liberty. His father's barbed statements on contemporary issues made him a reviled figure to some and a pioneering conservative crusader to others.
"That's not my thing," Falwell said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this year at Liberty, which was founded by his father.
Falwell said he had also reached out to a first responder in San Bernardino to see if Liberty University could offer scholarships to his children.