Vivian Moon, a real estate agent and artist, had never felt particularly afraid as a woman living alone in Buena Park, a small California city outside Los Angeles. But when violent attacks against Asian women and seniors increased across the US early last year, she became disillusioned with the police’s ability – and willingness – to protect people who looked like her.
So, like many other Americans of Asian descent, she decided to buy a gun. “I realized I have to take ownership of how I want to live my life,” said Moon, 33.
In the year since, Moon said she’s made an effort to reach out and teach her friends, many of whom are women of color, about gun safety. As a Korean woman who grew up in the 1990s, Moon is also inspired by the legacy of the Los Angeles uprising and the armed Korean immigrants who defended their businesses on rooftops when riots broke out in South Central. “Back then Korean Americans took a stand and took their safety into their own hands,” she said.
Gun ownership rates soared to record heights during the pandemic, as more than 5 million people became first-time owners, according to the trade organization National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). That includes Asian Americans. As videos of anti-Asian violence began flooding social media and cable news, gun sales to Asian Americans, though still significantly lower than those of other racial groups, rose by an estimated 43%.
Asian Americans who experienced or witnessed increased acts of racism at the start of the pandemic were more likely to buy firearms for self-defense, according to a new peer-reviewed study from the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. More than half of those who purchased a gun are first-time owners.
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Source: the Guardian