Expats in the US debate open carry following recent shootings

  • open carry permit
Published on 2022-05-31 at 14:00 by Asaël Häzaq
One week has passed since the tragedy where 19 primary school children and 2 teachers were killed in Uvalde, USA. The population is still shocked, as is the rest of the world. Investigations are on, and the police admitted strategic errors. Still, the NRA maintained its conference on firearms last weekend in Houston, Texas.

Former President Trump's speech only reinforced the division between anti and pro firearms. Meanwhile, Joe Biden calls for political responsibility. Expat.com collected testimonials from residents and future expatriates in the US about the current situation.

Living in the United States today

A 20-year-old woman who has lived in the United States for 12 years shared her views: "I spent my most formative years looking over my shoulder—in amusement parks, malls, concerts, at the movies, and at school. Today, almost everywhere I go, I catch myself planning for a potential shooting without fully realizing it. I worry about what I might actually do: Would I run, would I hide? Play dead? Where are the exits? Where is cover? If there are other people with me, how do I protect them? Do my parents know I love them? Am I being dramatic? Am I actually safe?"

Protection is one of the primary arguments of the Second Amendment. Weapons are supposed to be used to protect oneself and others. Still, you need to know how to use them correctly. Paranga, who also lives in the United States, is critical of the supposedly "one day heroes". "You're under the impression of being a superhero; you think you're going to pull out your gun and approach the shooter. You're still 20 meters away after 3 missed shots, and you're already on the ground, dead. Or, you might think you are a superhero, but when on hearing the sounds of shooting, the cries of agony, the pleas, etc., like 99% of people, you just hide and pray to survive this horror. You don't even think about taking out your weapon anymore. Besides, taking out your weapon at the wrong time can make things worse".

Growing up in the United States in spite of the latent terror

Paranga believes that it is impossible for an ordinary citizen to know how to react faced with a shooting. Yet this type of incident keeps reproducing, and the Second Amendment hasn't changed. Over the past weekend, three new shootings were reported. In Thomaston, Georgia, a 18-year-old was killed and another was seriously injured. In Chattanooga, (Tennessee), at least 6 people were injured, and in Taft (Oklahoma), 7 people were injured and 1 died. 

Deaths, physical and/or psychological injuries, etc., are lifelong traumas. These shootings are tragedies that affect many more people than those officially reported. The 20-year-old resident recalls: " I was 10 when Sandy Hook happened. I was 16 when Parkland happened. I am now 20, and this is still a recurring issue in America. In college, countless of my peers have survived mass shootings. Yet, in the last 10 years, nothing has changed. Gun violence remains rampant. I am overwhelmed by the failures of this country and its leadership."

On February 14, 2018, a 19-year-old got into a high school with a semi-automatic weapon and killed 17 students. It was one of the most significant massive shootings in schools. On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Last February, Remington, an arms manufacturer sued by the families of the victims with its subsidiary Bushmaster, agreed to pay a 73 million dollar compensation. According to the families' lawyers, this was a "historic" agreement that must serve as a lesson to arms manufacturers. They recall that in 2020, weapons were reportedly the leading cause of death among young people.

Should expats leave or stay?

Like the locals, foreign residents wonder whether they should stay in the US or find a better place. “I find it hard to reconcile my vision of a progressive, innovative America with the current situation”, says Hopi. "I'm shocked that an 18-year-old boy who can't buy a beer or a pack of cigarettes can legally buy 2 rifles and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition. Yes, I wonder whether I should stay here. For now, I'm voting to elect representatives who aren't paid by the NRA, who are willing to pass common-sense gun laws. I vote so that we finally have a majority of 60 senators." 

Steve Kerr, the famous coach of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, shares the same views. One day after the shooting, he spoke out his heart during a press conference relating to a match against Dallas: "When are we going to react?" I'm really tired. That's more than enough! There are 50 senators right now, who are refusing to vote on HR 8, (a background check law the House passed last year). And we all know the reason why they won't vote: power!".

Sylvain, the dad of the young immigrant who testified above, also shared his views: "I moved to the USA of Obama in 2010. It was a progressive and innovative USA. But since 2017, we have witnessed the return of a Conservative America, socially obscurantist (medieval), especially regarding weapons, abortion, etc. Depending on what will happen in 2022 and 2024, for us, I'm considering all options".

Second Amendment: Should the Gun Law change?

“I have lived in the USA for years, and I love this country for many reasons. Still, there are some things I don't like, and in my opinion, some laws are completely useless. Fortunately, nothing is written in stone, and the laws are made to evolve with society. This is called democracy." According to Paranga, the current situation is questioning the Second Amendment once again. While pro-weapons justify their position, others consider this law ambiguous and, above all, unsuited to the country's new reality.

The Constitution of September 25, 1789, proposed 12 amendments. Ten were ratified on December 15, 1791. The famous Bill of Rights is the corpus of the fundamental texts of the American Constitution. One of them is the Second Amendment, which states the following: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." At the time, the United States was just emerging from the Revolutionary War. Yet, despite the profound changes, the Second Amendment has never been amended.

Ayakar, is planning to relocate to the United States and doesn't see any reason why his plans should change. "I don't see why even such a tragic event would jeopardize our desire to move to the US. I'm pro-arms, and I believe that Weapons are used to defend one's physical integrity and that of others, but also to defend one's freedom as the last resort against a tyrannical government." 

But Paranga insists that the United States is far from being a tyranny. He speaks of freedom that, unfortunately, authorizes all types of excess. “Weapons are for killing, that's it! The police is expected to protect the citizens. Admittedly, the police force isn't perfect, but it does a "much better job than a citizen who tries to be a hero but, in the end, is just going to make things worse."

How to fight the gun lobbies?

The 20-year-old immigrant insists that much needs to be done to improve the situation of the whole population. “We must at least try. Use your vote against officials who have taken money from gun lobbyists (and thus perpetuated this cycle for 10+ years). Ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons from consumer sale. Create a generous buyback program for banned guns and ammunition. Address ghost gun manufacturing. End immunity for gun manufacturers. Enact red flag laws. Enforce extensive background checks (with no loopholes for online purchases or gun shows). Increase the minimum age to 21 for the purchase of firearms. »

She believes that i's not enough to "think and pray".Referring to the controversial tweet of Ted Cruz, pro-gun Republican senator from Texas, she wrote: "No half-assed compromises on a bill that won't pass anyway—remember that no federal gun control legislation has passed since Sandy Hook. Gun violence should NOT be the leading cause of childhood death in the US. Make noise."

A former expat in Tokyo who now lives in California believes that an individualistic analysis of the situation can be dangerous. Indeed, for some, travelers and expats are responsible for their choices, and that they are already aware of the risks of moving to the US. "This has no sense. Does this mean that we should quit driving when we are aware of statistics relating to road accidents?" In her opinion, immigrants, expatriates and locals have the right to lead a peaceful life without having to constantly fear gunshots. "Living in a country does not necessarily mean that you have to agree to all its laws.


Paranga concludes with a heart-touching testimony on the reality of the open carry. “I have carried a gun for years. I have been forced to use my weapon and seen the damage caused by guns. Believe me, it's awful. A gun is for killing. It's not a toy that should be left in anyone's hands. It requires mastery of the weapon and the situation, specific training, and very good mental health." Besides, he defines fundamental freedom as people being able to live and walk around without fearing a random shooting, because it's as easy to buy firearms in the US as a packet of candy."