They say necessity breeds invention and one man in Bejing, China has identified a gaping need to provide his fellow citizens with the opportunity to shoot guns where gun culture reigns supreme: America.
“It’s a place Chinese can go to experience real gun culture,” Wong said. “It’s impossible to shoot here.”
“The Chinese government took away people’s guns to prevent them rising up,” said Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociologist at Renmin University. China passed a law in 1996 to passed a law banning citizens from owning guns.
Capitalizing on the law of supply and demand, 38-year-old Dickson Wong started a lucrative business for himself arranging travel to DeSoto County, FL and giving Chinese gun enthusiasts the chance to shoot a variety of firearms at gun ranges.
Wong, who is working to open his own gun range, has been successful booking trips for citizens like 33-year-old Han Weitian of Beijing, who traveled to Florida through Wong’s club last May.
“Chinese ranges fix their weapons to the bench,” Weitian said. “This felt free, like real shooting.”
Wong estimates tens of thousands of wealthy Chinese now travel to the U.S. every year to shoot, and aims to capture some of that demand when he opens his own state-of-the-art gun club in 2019.
He hopes to draw 5,000 Chinese tourists a year to his club with luxury accommodations and Chinese-speaking instructors. A promotional video for the club highlights sumptuous steaks, open-air firing ranges and a wide selection of weapons.
Gun tourism already is a growing business in the U.S. because of lax laws regulating firearms compared to other countries. For example, Honolulu attracts target shooters from Japan, which has stringent gun-control regulations, and Las Vegas has many firing ranges available for domestic and foreign visitors.
Wong has the closest thing to a gun shop in Beijing. It has camouflage gear, holsters and T-shirts quoting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment — which guarantees the right to bear arms.
What’s missing from the shop are the arms, which are illegal to manufacture or sell in China for private use.
Ironically, China is one of the world’s largest small-arms producers.