Open Carry Leads to Conversation on Freedom with a Chinese Immigrant

Open Carry at Vertical Church
Open Carry at Vertical Church

U.S.A.-( Open Carry often leads to interesting conversations. An ethnic Chinese emigrant approached me as I was openly carrying, as I often do during my daily activities. I will not identify the woman, who is an acquaintance. The reasons will become obvious.

She started by asking me if I had been dove hunting. I said I had. She asked if I had been successful. I said I had. It was the start to a conversation on geopolitics, an opening, a subtle approach to ask about gun control in the United States.

The lady knows almost nothing about guns, United States gun laws, or even guns in China. She knows a good bit about Chinese governmental authority, Chinese cultures, and how governmental power is exercised in China. She has family there. She is multi-lingual.

To illustrate her ignorance about guns, she asked if I used the small one (the pistol on my hip) to hunt doves or a big one. We are all ignorant, just about different things. She knows far more about Chinese cultures than I ever will; I know far more about guns and American gun culture. I explained a bit about shotguns and ballistics.

As the conversation progressed, it became clear she wanted to understand about American gun laws, and American gun culture.

She asked how many guns I had; I answered with a non-specific reference to past numbers.

She said an American told her he owned over a hundred guns. She said people in China did not have guns. They were not allowed to have guns. She asked if I was aware of what was happening in Hong Kong.  I said I was. She showed me pictures of protesters in Hong Kong.

I told her Americans had the most guns in the world, over 400 million. We have more guns than people, and while there are millions of illegal guns in China, the Chinese government worked hard to keep the Chinese unarmed, as did most governments in the world.  The illegal guns in China (about 50 million) are a fraction of the guns legally owned by Americans.

She asked, “why do Americans have so many guns?”

I told her when the United States was created, we were able to do so because we were armed. We broke away from the British Empire about the time the British were importing opium into China.

When we created our founding documents, we included a guarantee the government would not disarm the people.  I told her people who have the guns make the rules. In America, the people have guns. In America, the government is to be the servant of the people, the people are not the servant of the government. In America, the government does not tell the people what the people need, the people tell the government what the government may do.

In America, people have guns to defend themselves from other people, and to keep limits on government power.

We agreed America was unique in its guarantee of the right to have guns. America is unlike China. America has a robust guarantee of property rights. The Chinese government was founded on the idea that property is theft, and that all property, ultimately, belongs to the government.

The lady said she could not discuss such things in China. In China, much money goes into the pockets of government officials. She said she had to be very careful what she said because she wished to be able to visit China.

She asked what the maximum number of guns a person was allowed to have in the United States.

I told her, there is no maximum number. There is no maximum amount of ammunition that may be owned. I told her a friend of mine, who recently died, had over a hundred guns and a hundred thousand rounds of ammunition in his estate. I used hyperbole to make the point: how many thousands of guns do you want, I asked? I will help you order them. You do not need government permission to own guns in the United States.

She did not ask for any guns. I told her I hoped the protestors in Hong Kong would accept a political settlement where they kept the rights they currently have.  I said many important members of the Chinese government have hundreds of millions, billions, of dollars in Hong Kong. Those members do not want the Chinese government to take control over Hong Kong, because their funds would no longer be safe from confiscation.

She ended the conversation by saying she was very, very happy she was living in the United States, and not in China.

I have had many conversations with people from other countries about guns and the Second Amendment.

One of the most memorable happened 30 years ago, in Panama. A Panamanian asking for food, during the Noriega difficulties (just before the U.S. invasion), talked about gun confiscation in Panama and other Central American countries. It will never happen in the United States, he said. “The Rifle Association will not allow it”.

Americans’ access to arms is envied around the world.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.