Asian Americans are increasingly purchasing guns to defend themselves amid a spike in hate crimes

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Rifles displayed in a gun shop in Salem, Oregon.

  • More Asian Americans are buying firearms to protect themselves against hate crimes.
  • The spike in sales comes amid a surge in racist rhetoric and attacks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A recent analysis found hate crimes against Asian Americans rose nearly 150% in 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More Asian Americans are buying firearms to protect themselves amid a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Forbes.

“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,” Jimmy Gong, the owner of New York-based Jimmy’s Sport Shop, was quoted as saying in the Forbes report.

During the pandemic, gun sales have doubled for Gong. About half of his business derives from Asian Americans, who also buy a lot of pepper spray, he told the outlet.

According to the report, gun stores across the US are also seeing an increasing number of Asian Americans purchasing firearms for self-defense purposes. Poway Weapons & Gear in California saw a 20% increase in Asian American first-time buyers over the past year compared with the year before that, said Danielle Jaymes, the store’s general manager.

Six of the eight people killed in the Atlanta shootings on Tuesday were Asian women, although no motive for the shootings has been established. Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been named by police as the suspect in all eight deaths, which took place at spas. He was arrested after a car chase south of Atlanta in Crisp County, around 150 miles away.

A recent analysis found hate crimes against Asian Americans rose nearly 150% in 2020. President Joe Biden addressed the spike in a televised broadcast on Friday, labeling it “un-American” and insisted that “it must stop.”

Though police officers have ramped up patrols in Asian American communities to try and safeguard against attacks, many people are still choosing to take defense into their own hands, The New York Post reported.

As Anti-Asian rhetoric increased during the pandemic, former President Donald Trump was criticised for referring to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.” The World Health Organization has urged people not to use that term, along with several others.

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