Weapons and other tools have become more common purchases among Asian-Americans, who believe crimes against them have increased during the pandemic.

Asian-Americans are stocking up on guns in order to defend themselves against the increase in hate crimes of which they believe they have become targets since the beginning of the pandemic. 

“There are more Asians being introduced to firearms,” Jimmy Gong, the owner of Jimmy’s Sport Shop in New York told 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.” 

Gong also said that gun sales have doubled in this lockdown period, while nearly half of his customers are Asian-Americans. Customers are also buying pepper spray.

Danielle Jaymes, general manager of Poway Weapons & Gear, a gun store in California, said the number of Asian-Americans buying weapons for the first time has increased by 20 percent. 

On Tuesday, a shooting spree left eight Asian-Americans dead, and six others injured in and around Atlanta, including six Asian women. It has left the Asian community in the US stunned. 

Although officials said the white 21-year-old male suspect may not have had a racial motivation, the shooting sparked fresh outrage, fear and demands for the government to respond.

However, Korean media reported that the suspected man had said:”I am going to kill all the Asians”.

Increasing hate crimes 

Russell Jeung, a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University, said: “we’re besieged.”

Jeung is also a founder of Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition that has tracked anti-Asian violence during the pandemic. 

Stop AAPI Hate released a report on Tuesday just hours before the shooting, saying 3,795 hate crime incidents against Asian-Americans had occurred between March 2020 and February 2021.

“The overall community is traumatised,” Professor Jeung said. 

The number of hate crimes against Asian descendants in the US hiked by 35 percent compared to the number stated on Stop AAPI Hate’s previous report.

According to the report, the majority of the discrimination consisted of verbal harassment, with women reporting incidents roughly twice as often than men.

At least 11 percent of incidents are physical assaults, while civil rights violations, workplace discrimination, refusal of service, and a ban from being able to use transport, accounted for 8.5 percent of total incidents.

Former American President, Donald Trump, repeatedly referred to Covid-19 as the “China Virus” and “kung flu.” Many Americans held him and his inflammatory rhetoric responsible for the rise in anti-Asian sentiment across the US.

Source: TRT World