Probably the primary reason most gun owners own guns is for self-defense and/or to defend their families.
Often the people most at risk for violent attacks come from minority groups.
As we’ve seen throughout world history and American history, bullies target people they perceive as being weaker than they are.
Almost no group is exempt from this harassment as long as they are in the minority.
African-Americans, Latinos Americans, LGBTQ+, Arab-Americans, and most recently with targeted attacks on the rise — Americans and immigrants of Asian heritage.
There are many groups that support specific segments of the 2A community and I got the chance to speak with a rather newly formed group whose mission is to fight against the rising hate and empower their community.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Gun Owners co-founder Scott Kane talked to me about AAPI GO and its mission.
Q&A With Scott Kane from AAPI GO
PPT: Give me the origin story on AAPI GO. How did it start and where did the idea come from?
My wife and child and I experienced a traumatic hate crime in the early days of COVID and as things started to get more dire and uncertain I thought I should take my family’s personal protection seriously and went about the complicated process in California of purchasing my first firearm in March of last year.
California’s mandatory 10-day wait turned into 50 when all gun stores in the SF Bay area were deemed non-essential and were not allowed to reopen.
That made me feel almost as powerless as I did on the day those racists spat at my wife, daughter, and me on the street and yelled “go the Eff back to China.”
In theory, I was fine with some restrictions on firearms purchases but that experience showed me that rules can be arbitrarily changed by un-elected officials and rights infringed upon so I resolved to find some way to get politically active in the firearms world.
Fast forward about a year and I met a fellow Redditor and we jointly decided to form the AAPI GO Brand mostly in reaction to a post I made on Reddit soon after the unfortunate attacks in Atlanta this past March.
The amount of gaslighting that happened due to that event was sickening to me and we thought there must be a group of like-minded Asian Americans who would get a lot of value out of a gun advocacy group specifically by and for them.
To me, the strength of our community is our social media following which I have painstakingly built one post at a time.
Patrick and I decided to part ways recently and I have reformed under a more advocacy-focused site.
[The] .org’s focus is on education and doesn’t lean into politics. I do and am proud of it. I’m the sole owner of our 503 C3 non-profit which was just approved recently in my sole name, have a pending trademark, pending LLC, and have filed the trademark for AAPI GO.
I’ve made it clear that my goal for the organization is to be more politically active and opinionated. Guns are a life and death complicated political issue and most of what you hear on YouTube and social media comes from a conservative mindset.
My new vision is to be member-focused and lean into the fact that Asians and other minorities vote blue but have strong concerns with the current administration’s plans.
I believe in collaboration and finding solutions that actually work to our biggest problems in the gun world: not bans.
In my view, avoiding draconian legislation can only happen by opening a dialogue and not wholesale demonizing the other side.
Democrats need to understand that their voters are changing and adopting the 2A and all the responsibility that comes with it.
PPT: What kind of issues plague Asian American and Pacific Islander gun owners?
In my mind, it’s the same problems that plague any new shooter — a lack of training and education resources.
The content is there and in fact, given COVID I had to do a lot of training last year by proactively seeking out help on Reddit and scanning through great content from folks like Hikock45 and Lucky Gunner Ammo on YouTube.
It shouldn’t be that way and it was absolutely terrifying to not even be able to buy tickets to a training class because gun stores and ranges were deemed non-essential last year.
Also, areas with the highest spikes in hate crimes against Asians are large cities like Oakland, San Francisco and those cities are notorious “may issue” when it comes to CCW permits.
If someone chose to defend themselves against a vicious attack with a brick or knife-wielding assailant with a legally purchased firearm without a CCW permit they’d likely serve a longer jail sentence than their attacker.
Firearms are not the only means of self-defense though and my larger vision for AAPIGO.biz also involves reaching out to manufacturers like Taser and Byrna to help raise awareness of their fantastic alternative less than lethal options in states where it is difficult or impossible to obtain a CCW permit.
PPT: Why is it important that Asian Americans have a gun group they can turn to?
Firearms ownership can feel like an exclusive club. AAPI GO aims for inclusivity.
Ideally, I’d consider my work complete if AAPI GO got a seat at the table to influence policy and decision-making instead of being excluded from the conversation.
There’s a place for that but the fact of the matter is Biden won and in my view, we have to try our best and persuade and collaborate otherwise the only group with his ear will be the anti-gun establishment.
I don’t want us to be a tool of the existing gun lobby we need to have our own unique voice for it to break through the noise and rhetorical red lines in the sand people have drawn on the issue of guns.
PPT: To my understanding, “AAPI” covers people from a very large geographical area and includes many different languages and cultures. Has that resulted in any difficulties in getting your message out to your community?
It has. That’s why we created the new shooter resource page.
We are actively seeking volunteers to subtitle and translate great content that’s already out there so as not to reinvent the wheel.
Hickock45 dubbed in Mandarin Chinese!?? Imagine the possibilities.
PPT: With or without your CCW permit, what does your EDC setup look like?
I have a Taser 7CQ for myself and a Taser Pulse for my wife along with the taser strike light.
I’d love to carry the Byrna HD but pepper .38 pepper balls aren’t legal in Cali as far as I know.
PPT: Give me the 60-second pitch on the AAPI Go and how can people join?
We also have a podcast focused on sharing the stories of Asian American’s first-time gun-buying experiences that airs bi-weekly.
PPT: Do you plan on doing any voter registration drives either alongside your firearms advocacy or in addition to it?
According to Forbes, AAPI voter turnout rose dramatically in 2020 but still has a lot of room for growth. With the 2022 midterms coming fast, this is going to be a critical election cycle.
I literally just formed a PAC.
To have the greatest impact it can’t be mostly Asians so I am launching the People of Color Gun Owners Political Action Committee POC GO or POCPAC GO to help minorities show strength in numbers as a new gun owner voting BLOC that shouldn’t be ignored.
PPT: Is there anything you’d like our readers to know about the group or its mission?
If you’d like to get involved in firearms and personal safety and political advocacy in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community we would love to hear from you.
Have you joined any advocacy groups? Let us know in the comments below. For more advocacy check out NRA Alternatives: Pro-Gun & Special Interest Groups.