According to The Guardian:

Gun ownership rates soared to record heights during the pandemic, as more than 5 million people became first-time owners, according to the trade organization National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). That includes Asian Americans. As videos of anti-Asian violence began flooding social media and cable newsgun sales to Asian Americans, though still significantly lower than those of other racial groups, rose by an estimated 43%.

Asian Americans who experienced or witnessed increased acts of racism at the start of the pandemic were more likely to buy firearms for self-defense, according to a new peer-reviewed study from the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. More than half of those who purchased a gun are first-time owners.

“Racism is like a time bomb that causes stress and anxiety, which increases people’s intention to buy firearms,” said Tsu-Yin Wu, the lead researcher and director of EMU’s Center for Health Disparities Innovation and Studies. “Not only are people carrying it on more days, they’re also carrying it more than 50% of the time.”

During the pandemic, a host of Asian American affinity groups have emerged in southern California to provide resources and a sense of community to new gun owners. Tom Nguyen founded LA Progressive Shooters to provide firearms education to people of color, after seeing a “massive increase in first time gun owners”, particularly single women and queer people.

Nguyen, who leads introductory classes on firearm storage and shooting, said the pandemic has been a “lightning rod moment” for Asian Americans and other marginalized groups of people who previously have held an ambivalent or fearful attitude toward guns.

Read more at The Guardian.

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