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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Gun purchases by Asian consumers are soaring

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The number of Asian people purchasing guns is increasing.

As hate crimes and shootings occur more and more everyday, the number of gun purchases for defense purposes is increasing.

The LA Times (LAT) reported on the 30th that owning a gun is becoming a safety measure among Asian residents now. For instance, a Korean woman in her 40s living in West LA has bought herself a self-defense gun with her husband, and learned how to use it through Youtube.

Alex Nguyen, research manager at a gun violence prevention group called the Gilford Law Center, said, “Asians originally have a lower percentage of guns than other races, but gun ownership has exploded during the pandemic.”

Increase in gun purchases in Asia is also backed by statistics.

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF), Asian gun purchases in 2021 increased 27.1% compared to the last. Purchases by white (60.5%), black (44.8%), and Hispanic (36.9%) all increased as well, but it is unusual for Asian gun purchases to increase by nearly 30%.

Asian gun purchases coincided with the rise of crime in California.

Director of the Garage Gun Owners Association Sam Padres said, “There is an extraordinary increase in the ownership of guns by Asians in California specifically,” adding, “This is a response to the need to protect families and businesses from hate crimes that is beyond just self-defense.”

In fact, the percentage of Asian gun purchases has been on the rise in the last few years. “There are a lot of Asian people who come to buy guns whenever there are violent protests, tailings, shoplifting, and hate crimes,” a staff at a Glendale gun shop said. “After the recent Monterey Park shooting, we received a lot of inquiries about gun purchases.”

Ronald Bae, a liquor store owner in eastern LA, said, “As robberies and hate crimes increased after the pandemic, there is definitely an increase of Korean business owners purchasing guns,” adding, “I think the thought of having to protect themselves is becoming more and more firm as they see and experience terror in the world.”

“Some Asian men have good knowledge of guns because they have served in the military,” the LA Times said. “For example, you can see the photos of Korean owners guarding the Korean town with guns on the roof during the 1992 Los Angeles riot.”

Gun ownership is a means of protecting oneself based on constitutional rights, but aggressive marketing by gun groups is also blamed for encouraging Asian gun purchases.

Josh Sugarman, director of the Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence, said, “As Asian hate crimes increased during the pandemic, the gun industry considered it an opportunity to sell guns.”

Moreover, interest in gun clubs increases whenever a gun-related incident occurs.

Tom Nyguen, founder of LA Progressive Shooter in 2020, said, “There are about 600 students, 25% of whom are Asian, learning basic shooting skills and the use of guns for defense purposes. This proves that there is an increase of anxiety from residents that California is getting out of control in terms of crime rate. Especially when a gun-related incident occurs, we get much more inquiries about the club from students than before.”

Meanwhile, according to statistics from the National Instant Crime Prevention and Inquiry System (NICBCS), there were a total of 1,431,993 applications for background checks for total gun purchases in California last year. Although California strengthens gun regulations every year, applications for background checks increased by 26% compared to 10 years ago (2012,132,603 cases).

BY JANG YEOL [yeol@koreadaily.com]