ARCADIA — The store just opened up a few minutes ago and there’s already a line out the door, but these Angelenos aren’t here for hand sanitizer. They’re here to buy guns and ammunition.
David Liu, owner of Arcadia Firearms and Safety, says sales have shot straight up.
“The sales for the past one month is going crazy,” said Liu. “It started like increase maybe five times and then at peak, probably more than 10 times.”
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His gun safe looks full, but Liu is actually sold out, many sold to first-time gun buyers who have to wait for the mandatory background check.
“Basically everything in my store is sold out,” said Liu. “I don’t have any inventory left. I’m only selling what I have ordered.”
“You open today?” asked a caller.
“Yeah, we’re open for the certificate, but I don’t have much to sell, just let you know,” Liu responded.
That includes ammunition and it may take a while before he gets any.
“I sold out right now. I have some shipment coming in and all the shipments are delayed,” said Liu.
Before he sold out, some of his customers asked to buy his entire inventory, but he refused. He wanted to make sure that all his customers that needed it would have a chance to buy some.
Originally from Taiwan, Liu moved to the U.S. when he was 15 years old and opened his gun shop after retiring to keep busy.
Based in Arcadia, most of his customers are Chinese-American.
“In the past month, we also not only see the Chinese are coming in. We are seeing the Filipino, Vietnamese, even Japanese, Korean,” said Liu. “They’re coming in the store because they fear something is going to happen to them because you start to see a lot of people talking about Asian being attacked so people are panicking.”
At Burbank Ammo & Guns, owner David Schwartz is also experiencing a surge of new customers and feels he’s fulfilling a need for his community.
“In regards to the virus that’s going around, we have a lot of customers that are looking to see what’s going on with the firearms and learn about firearms accountability and ownership within Los Angeles, California and we’re just here servicing the community and doing our best for all these new customers and trying to stay open to service them,” said Schwartz.
According to the 2015 National Firearms Survey, one in five U.S. adults own a gun and they can be found in one in three U.S. households. But gun ownership by Asian-Americans is not counted. They’re included in the “other” category.
But it’s this “othering” that worries some Asian-Americans. Student Rose Zhao came along with her boyfriend, also Asian-American.
“To protect ourselves for sure because there’s a lot of people that are panicking so it’s a good idea to have something as a last resort,” said Zhao.
And for the sake of gun safety, Liu urges everyone to remain calm.
“I do believe in a very short time, everything will catch back up. Just don’t overstock. Leave some for some other people,” said Liu.
Safety first everyone.