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CA – Self-Protection – Asian-Americans Terrified of Coronavirus Backlash Stock Up on Guns

As the number of confirmed 2019 novel coronavirus cases continues to multiply, many Americans are emptying store shelves of hand sanitizer, bleach, and canned goods. But there’s an acute fear among Asian Americans that the virus’ origins in China will spark a violent xenophobic backlash. Along the West Coast, where the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the U.S. have occurred, those fears seem to be spurring a surge in gun sales. “People are panicking because they don’t feel secure,” said David Liu, who is Chinese American and owns Arcadia Firearm and Safety, which is just east of Los Angeles. “They worry about a riot or maybe that people will start to target the Chinese.” Liu said his store had seen a fivefold increase in sales over the past two weeks. He’s sold out of Glock handguns, and some customers have requested to buy his entire inventory of ammunition branded for home defense. “They think it’s Costco,” he said. According to Liu, the surge customers are overwhelmingly of Chinese descent. They worry, he explained, that in the event of mass panic, they might face violence because of their ethnicity and be easy victims because of their historically low rates of gun ownership. Surveys of gun ownership don’t usually track Asian Americans separately, but instead include them in an “other” category that is typically very small. As The Los Angeles Times has reported, since the first novel coronavirus outbreaks in the United States, Asian Americans have experienced intensifying venom, including bullying, racist comments, and harassment. On February 24, a man of East Asian descent was assaulted in central London. One of the assailants reportedly said, “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.”  [full article]

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