LA Times: At L.A.-Area Gun Store, Chinese Immigrants Exercise an Unfamiliar Right to Bear Arms

It is great to see new Americans and soon-to-be Americans enjoy their Second Amendment rights!

Via LA Times:

Private gun ownership is generally banned in China. So when Chinese immigrants arrive in the U.S., many are curious about owning firearms…

…In Los Angeles, Chinese immigrants frequent Gun Effects, a firearms store housed in a City of Industry strip mall that includes a boba tea spot, a massage parlor and a dinosaur-themed Taiwanese restaurant.

On a recent weekday, a line formed at a bilingual English and Chinese sign-in sheet as Tom Petty crooned over the store speakers. A few customers puzzled over a Chinese translation of the handgun test beneath an empty wall where the store once displayed assault weapons — all of which were snapped up before California’s tough new gun control measures take effect Jan. 1. The legislation was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in July in the wake of simmering outrage over mass shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando, Fla…


…At Gun Effects, Chinese buyers have shown up in droves to buy the store’s stock of soon-to-be restricted firearms.

Kai Kang, 48, of Irvine, lined up to purchase a scope for one of his guns. He remembers being curious about owning a gun when he came to America about a decade ago. In China he was in the military, but he never thought about owning a gun for his personal use.

Once he had his green card, he decided to try it out. Gun collecting eventually became a hobby. He goes to shooting ranges with his friends and keeps guns in his house for protection.

“I have short guns, long guns, handguns, AR-15s, rifles. I bought one, then I just kept buying more,” Kang said.

Gun Effects’ popularity with Chinese customers could have something to do with its Chinese ownership and bilingual services. The store’s owner, Dennis Lin, was born in Guangdong, China, to a dim sum chef and his wife. He came to the U.S. when he was 3 years old.

Lin, 29, grew up playing with airsoft guns and started a business selling gun accessories online after graduating from college. When the business grew, he opened a store.

Business was slow at first. He placed online advertisements, but they failed to increase demand. Still, about a year ago, Chinese customers began to show up in large numbers.

“I don’t even know how this happened, really,” Lin said. “In the past, most of our business has been with non-Chinese customers.”

Now about 40 percent of customers are Chinese, Lin said. He hired two Chinese-speaking employees and ramped up his study of Mandarin. He also travels to China several times a year to learn more about Chinese culture, which he never had much connection to as a kid.

In China, he’s careful never to say that he sells guns for a living.

“They do get nervous,” Lin said. “It’s like a taboo.”

Chinese customers often have questions about legality and safety, said Queenie Yang, one of the store’s Chinese-speaking employees. And many of them need time to get comfortable with even holding a gun.

One Chinese customer new to the country started shaking when he held a gun for the first time, Lin said. When he handed the gun back to Lin, it was soaked with sweat.

“I just tell them don’t be scared. It’s legal here,” Lin said.

Read more here.