Some west coast cities are experiencing a glut of first-time gun buyers. The unusual aspect of this particular shopping spree is these first-time gun buyers are predominately Asian Americans, Chinese Americans in particular. A group gun shop owners say traditionally have a low gun ownership rate.
Apparently, many Americans of Chinese descent are worried about people committing “racist” violence against them because the coronavirus reportedly originated in Wuhan, China. The Trace and the Daily Beast co-published an article by Champe Barton indicating coronavirus is the motivation for these new gun purchases.
While some frenetic folks are busy hoarding bleach, hand sanitizer, Lysol, bottled water, and—for some reason—toilet paper, others are buying guns. One Chinese American gun-store owner in Los Angeles said, “People are panicking because they don’t feel secure. They worry about a riot or maybe that people will start to target the Chinese.”
This gun storeowner reported five times more sales than during the last two weeks. He said he’s had some customers ask to buy his entire inventory of personal protection firearms. In fact, he said he’s sold out of his Glock-brand handguns.
Gun stores in Washington State are reporting a similar sales explosion. Wade’s Eastside Guns in Bellevue is reporting six times more sales over the previous two weeks. As with the California gun shop, his customers were also primarily Asian and first-time buyers.
Tiffany Teasdale, an owner of Lynnwood Gun and Ammunition, also reports about six times more in “sales over the past two weeks, predominately from Chinese-American customers.” She said they normally sell about a dozen guns in a weekend. She said they sold 60 firearms on just one recent Saturday. Teasdale added that other local gun stores have had similar increases. She said, “her distributors had run out of 9mm ammunition.”
The Bellevue Police Department is also reporting a “spike in demand” for background checks. BPD’s public information officer, Meeghan Black, said, “The officer who processes these checks said he’s been processing the last ten years, and had never seen anything like this in his life.”
I perused the web for news stories about “hate crimes” against Asian Americans related to the virus. There seem to be some anecdotal reports of “racist” aggression toward Asians in Los Angeles, and I saw a report of a coronavirus-related assault on an Asian person in London, England.
However, in Washington State, they report, “So far, police departments and civil rights groups in cities experiencing increased gun sales have received no reports of violent attacks against Asians.”
The Bellevue Police Department said it hadn’t received a single complaint since the first U.S. case of coronavirus made headlines. And Bellevue borders Kirkland, where a majority of the U.S. deaths from the virus have occurred at a nursing home.
OneAmerica, an immigrant rights organization in Seattle, said they’d heard people were avoiding Chinese restaurants, but “had not heard about any hate crimes in the Seattle area.”
So, we have to ask why the paranoia in the Chinese/Asian American community? Who is stoking the fear in this community? I read some reports on leftist sources like NPR and CNN regarding what appeared to be individual acts of racist stupidity, but nothing signaling any mass hostility toward Asian folks. But these outlets are not averse to fake news, so nothing surprises me about their irresponsible reporting.
Avoiding Chinese restaurants (which I have not done and don’t plan to do) is in most cases not racist but a simple overreaction. Kind of like the overreaction of buying guns because you’re afraid your neighbors are going to riot against you, with no empirical evidence of that happening.
I’m certain if the virus originated in Athens or Paris these same people would avoid Greek or French restaurants. Or if originating in Dublin, avoid Irish pubs—I don’t even want to imagine such a calamity.
While I wince at the fear, paranoid or not, causing Americans of any racial or ethnic group to run out and buy guns, I think there may be a positive that comes out of this fear. According to the reporting, Asian Americans traditionally have had low rates of gun ownership. So, while this particular xenophobic phantom may not be real, the instinct to want a gun to protect yourself is a good one.
Any increase in people understanding how important the Second Amendment is to our liberty, is a benefit to all Americans. These neophyte gun enthusiasts are learning that even the possibility of an attack from which the government (law enforcement) cannot protect you, exists. And they want to be prepared for their self-defense.
The thing is, the possibility of becoming a victim of violent crime exists every day, not just when there is some health crisis. And the only thing you can count on when someone’s outside your home with a gun, banging on your door, intent on hurting you is you…with a gun…to protect that home and your family.