Asian Americans are finding themselves targeted for violence in apparently increasing numbers. A prime example was the murder of a pregnant Asian woman in Seattle just last week.
So it seems many Asian Americans are arming themselves. They’re buying guns and are dedicating themselves to not being victims.
But on the same token, there appears to be a group that is actually railing against this move.
The 2021 Atlanta spa shootings were a turning point for many Asian Americans. The tragedy, which occurred amidst a dramatic rise in hate crimes, was a stark reminder to many AAPIs of their vulnerability to gun violence.
For many, owning a firearm is a way to protect themselves in an age of rising violence; Asian American gun ownership rose by 43% in 2020. Yet others say that guns are insufficient to protect Asian Americans– and can even present new dangers to the community.
Today, in the wake of publicized shootings in California and Texas, AAPIs are organizing to protect their community. What that means, however, varies per group. Advocates emphasized the importance of pushing for policies to stop gun violence and hate crimes alike. Meanwhile, gun owners stressed the need for education and training to ensure safe firearms ownership.
AsAmNews spoke to representatives of organizations from both groups in order to gain a deeper understanding of AAPI gun ownership and safety, in an intense environment of anti-Asian hate.
Here’s the issue at play here. The AAPI–Asian American and Pacific Islander, to be specific–community is like any other ethnic group. They’re not monolithic. A lot of individuals are looking at the issues and deciding for themselves.
However, what the anti-gun side of the debate needs to consider is the fact that criminals will always get guns. Hate crimes aren’t necessarily only carried out by four rednecks in a Dodge Durango. Many of those who would kill someone because of the color of their skin isn’t exactly going to be law-abiding citizens.
Now, I get that they also want to address hate crimes in general, and I don’t think that’s an awful strategy. They have to know that there will always be hate, though, and you can’t legislate your way out of that.
Even if you could remove the guns, the attitude will still remain in far too many people. They don’t need a gun to kill people.
But a gun in the hands of the law-abiding AAPI community members will stop these in their tracks. If enough people get shot while trying to commit hate crimes, you’ll see people unwilling to commit hate crimes. Sure, the animosity might remain, but there’s only so much you can do about that.
If you’re someone who figures you might be targeted for violence, guess what? It behooves you to step up and take precautions. The government cannot and will not protect you, as we’ve seen in Parkland and Uvalde. If they won’t protect children, your grown butt isn’t going to get better.
So arm yourself, get trained, and meet hate with the response it deserves.