SF Business Owner Displays Gun, Stops Assault On Tourist

The co-owner of an iconic San Francisco business stopped an attack on a tourist over the weekend thanks to his concealed firearm. Kevin Chan helps run the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, but on Saturday the business owner stepped outside of the landmark business and into a scuffle between two strangers.

Chan says he felt like he had to step in when he saw a man getting aggressive with one of several tourists who were in the area.

 “The guy just pushed real quick…he did the first push real hard,” says Kevin Chan, co-owner of the business that’s been in operation since 1962.

Kevin, recounted the turn of events, “The guy asked the Black guy, ‘Why did you push me?’ The Black guy said, ‘because you stared at me two blocks away!’”

What makes this story remarkable is what unfolds next. Kevin immediately steps in after the shove, and lifts up his shirt to reveal…

“I have a concealed carry and I need it to protect my business,” Chan said.

Just the sight of the gun is enough for the man in the black sweatshirt to leave.

“He was scared and he didn’t want to go any further.”

It doesn’t surprise me to learn that a concealed carry licensee stepped up to help out a stranger in need. What’s truly shocking to me is the fact that Kevin Chan actually has a concealed carry permit in the first place.

California’s ridiculous gun control laws give county sheriffs the discretion to approve or deny carry licenses to anyone they feel haven’t demonstrated a “justifiable need,” and San Francisco County is one of several across the state where the sheriff doesn’t view self-defense as a valid reason to carry. In fact, as of 2019, there were only two concealed carry permits active in the city of nearly 900,000 people, which is the fewest number of permit holders in any California county.

It’s likely that Chan received his permit to carry from another California county, since permits issued in one county are valid throughout the state. Regardless of where the permit was issued, I’m awfully glad that Chan received it. Based on his comments to ABC 7 in San Francisco, it sounds like crime is a growing concern in his neighborhood.

Tourism in Chinatown was down 35% before the pandemic. Once COVID-19 hit, business went down for some as much as 90%. While some tourists are coming back, as ABC7 witnessed Sunday night, Kevin can’t afford for incidents like this to scare visitors away.

“People will come here and they’ll have a bad impression and blame the Chinese community.”

Kevin decided not to file a police report afraid it would go nowhere. So he is choosing to tell his story to send a message to local leaders.

“Not to defund the police. But to reform the police. Recognize them. Don’t take away resources. Our community needs resources.”

Indeed it does. According to the group Stop Crime SF, violent crime has been on a steady rise throughout much of the year. The organization’s president Frank Noto reported back in August that the city had been struggling for months to quell the growing number of shootings and assaults.

Crime in categories like burglary and homicide is up for the fourth straight month in San Francisco. Homicides increased in San Francisco by 25 percent in July compared to the same month last year, and by 30 percent for the year to date. Thirty people have been murdered in the city this year.

Unlike most other cities, San Francisco is also experiencing a dramatic upsurge in other serious crimes.  Stop Crime SF previously reported that crime was up this spring, and the police department’s crime data dashboard shows burglaries climbed sharply in July also. They were up 56 percent, with 680 burglaries reported. Burglaries have also risen a steep 42 percent for the year to date.

Similarly, motor vehicle thefts were up 71 percent in July and 30 percent for the year. Arsons climbed 35 percent for the same period, with an increase of 44 percent for the year to date.

“On top of dealing with a global pandemic, San Francisco police now have to deal with skyrocketing crime rates,” said Frank Noto, president of victim’s rights group Stop Crime SF. “We can’t forget the victims of the homicides, burglaries, arsons and stolen cars that we’ve seen more of this year.”

Noto pins a lot of the blame for the crime increase on a lack of police officers (San Francisco is about 200 officers short of the number of police required by the city charter) and on the light-on-crime policies of San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin. Unfortunately for residents the soft-on-crime approach taken by the District Attorney isn’t likely to change anytime soon, and the restrictive concealed carry policies of Sheriff Paul Miyamoto aren’t going to change either.

I’m glad that Kevin Chan was around to prevent this particular assault from escalating, but it’s both unconscionable and unconstitutional that the average resident of San Francisco can’t lawfully carry a firearm in self-defense as well. Most crime victims won’t be “lucky” enough to be assaulted in the presence of a police officer or an armed citizen, and the odds are against them having a carry permit of their own.