"I know firsthand that guns don't make us safe"
Asian Americans are buying guns in response to the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes but community leaders disapprove.
Many Asian Americans become first-time gun owners to protect themselves against Coronavirus racism in early 2020.
Last month, Japanese American Chairman Wes Nakagir emphasized gun rights to combat racism.
However, advocates are heavily disapproving of Asian Americans taking up arms.
“I know firsthand that guns don’t make us safe,” said Po Murray, the chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance, a national grassroots gun violence prevention group formed after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
“It is a common myth that a good guy with a gun will keep us safe from a bad guy with a gun.”
Murray and other activists expressed concern that the community is opting to buy guns.
Gloria Pan, vice president for national advocacy group MomsRising, said Asian culture and language barriers had prevented people from buying guns in the past. She also warned of the dangers of taking up arms.
“If you’re an Asian American and you’re considering buying a gun, really try to think through it, rationally,” said Pan.
“You see videos of people being harassed and violence being committed against them on the streets, but in your state probably carrying around a gun might be illegal,” Pan added. “It might also be that carrying a gun might provoke other unintended consequences that put you in harm’s way.”
Caroline Fan, founder and president of the Missouri Asian American Youth Foundation, said people in the community have asked her advice in buying guns.
“I don’t think that guns make us safer. I understand the fear. I really understand the fear, but I just want our community find other options,” Fan said.
“I remember the sheer terror,” Fan said. “At the tender age of 18, I realized that there are people out there who will shoot us because we look different.”
Mike Song lost his 15-year-old son Ethan after he accidentally shot himself in 2018 and is urging people not to engage in buying arms.
“He (Ethan) died in the one place where you play, unbeknownst to any of the other parents in the community — where there were guns,” Song said. “That is something that I think about almost every day.”
“We will never, ever, ever, ever have a gun in this home because we know of the kind of tragedies that it can lead to,” Song said.
There has been a recent rise in attacks against Asians including an Asian “anti-masker” who was stabbed and killed in Washington.
In another incident, a man who racially abused an Asian American detective is now facing a lawsuit.
A suspect was also arrested for robbing and stabbing an Asian man in San Francisco.
Another a suspect was arrested for stomping on a 61-year-old man’s head in Harlem.
Meanwhile, charges against the man who spat at and punched an 83-year-old Korean grandmother have been dropped.
Elsewhere, the president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce was racially abused and physically attacked.
Additionally, three people were arrested for a burglary spree targeting 26 Asian business owners in Colorado and Wyoming in 2019.
Most recently, an Asian father was attacked in San Francisco whilst walking his 1-year-old child and an Asian American teen was left concussed after being punched at a basketball game in Oakland.