As the war between Israel and Hamas rages, local gun shop owners say concerns fueled by the bloody conflict have led to a surge in sales in Southern California, with many Jewish people arming themselves for the first time.
Jewish himself, Charles Jasper, Director of Aegis Private Security which also provides gun training, told KTLA’s Jennifer McGraw that his business has doubled since the war began.
“The idea that people can go door-to-door, terrorists can go door-to-door with impunity and not face hard resistance is something difficult to process, especially as an American,” he said.
In Studio City last week, the home of a Jewish family was broken into by a man threatening to kill them while hurling anti-Semitic insults. The victim, who is nine months pregnant, told KTLA that the intruder first kicked in the door to their master bedroom. Her husband fought with him while she called 911.
Officers arrived and found him armed with a kitchen knife, Key News reported. He was taken into custody without further incident and shouted, “Free Palestine” and “Brown Lives Matter” as he was cuffed and placed in a police cruiser, Key News video shows.
Store owners said they’re seeing an influx of Jewish and Israeli Americans, many of them women, arming up in case they’re the next target here at home.
“We’re having a gun. That’s the only way I feel I will be safe in my house now,” one woman, who did not want to be identified or appear on camera, told McGraw.
The woman, who said she fears for her family, has been anti-gun until now.
“I mean, in the past, the thought would’ve never crossed my mind,” she said. “Now it’s not only do I want my husband to figure this out, but I think we’re all going to be trained on how to use the gun. I don’t want history to repeat itself. I want my family here. I want my kids here. I want my kid’s kids to be here.”
At Burbank Ammo & Guns, manager Eric Fletcher said they’re up 75% in firearm safety certification tests, selling near 200 this year so far, compared to just 45 at this time last year.
“That’s a good indicator of who is a first-time buyer,” Fletcher said. “It’s not quite as bad as COVID was. COVID, the line was out the door, wrapped around the block. Now, it’s still very, very busy.”
Russell Stuart who owns Beverly Hills Guns told KTLA’s Carlos Saucedo that Jews are terrified right now and he’s never seen anything like this before.
“Never at this kind of uptick, never at this kind of rate where the phone is ringing literally off the hook noon to night,” he said. “We have appointments for weeks now.”
Since the war broke out, it’s not just the Jewish community receiving threats. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hundreds of threats have also been levied at Muslim Americans as well.