According to a report from Forbes, Asian-Americans are flooding gun shops in search of personal protection as hate crimes against their community explodes.
The report comes during the week when an Atlanta man went on a killing spree shooting eight people -- six of them women of Asian descent.
According to Jimmy Gong, the owner of Jimmy's Sport Shop in Mineola, New York, gun sales went up during the coronavirus pandemic, but sales to Asian-Americans have undergone a dramatic increase.
"There are more Asians being introduced to firearms. Before, there was never gun culture in the Asian community. But after the pandemic and all the hate crime going on, there are more Asians buying guns to defend themselves," he explained adding that half his sales lately is to Asian-Americans and that pepper spray sales have boomed too.
Danielle Jaymes, general manager of Poway Weapons & Gear in Poway, California, said she has noticed "a 20% increase in Asian-American first-time customers to her store over the last year" with many claiming they are buying for self-defense reasons.
According to Tim Hensley, general manager of Towers Armory in Ohio, "They're feeling a lot more unsafe in their environment and I think it's more dramatic for them now, especially with what just happened," before adding, "They're trying to get proficient, which is telling me that there is an urgency."
According to Forbes, "Hate crimes against Asian-Americans surged 149% in 2020, while overall hate crimes fell 7%, according to a study based on police statistics by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. The researchers found that hate crimes spiked in March and April 2020 'amidst a rise in Covid cases and negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic.'" adding, "During the anti-Asian hate crime spree, Asian-Americans have become a more familiar sight in gun shops, as they mingle among the millions of Americans who are buying guns for the first time."
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