We tracked down Mr. Ong and he gave us an exclusive interview. See what became the tipping point for his support of the Second Amendment here.
During a public hearing on gun violence in Hartford, Conn. on Monday, a legal immigrant by the name of Henson Ong issued a passionate defense of the Second Amendment and argued that gun control simply “does not work.” The video of Ong’s testimony has already surpassed 130,000 views on YouTube.
“Forgive me, English is not my first language. I am a legal immigrant and I am an American by choice,” he began, prompting applause from the audience.
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my opinion and give my testimony in opposition to the majority of the proposed bills, which do nothing to deter future crimes,” he added. “Gun control doesn’t work.”
Ong then launched into a impassioned diatribe about what he considers to be the real problem fueling gun gun violence — “societal decay.”
“Your own history is replete with high school rifle teams, boy scout marksmanship merit badges,” he explained. “You could buy rifles at hardware stores, you could order them… your country was awash in readily available firearms and ammunition, and yet in your past you did not have mass school shootings*.”
“What changed?” he asked. “It was not that the availability of guns suddenly exploded or increased, it actually was decreased. What changed was societal decay,” he added, resulting in more applause.
Ong pointed to the Washington, D.C. and Chicago as two cities with some of the strictest gun laws but also “the highest crime and murder rates.”
“If gun control actually did work, Washington, D.C. and Chicago would be the safest cities in your nation. But [they are] not, they have the toughest gun laws and the highest crime and murder rates,” he said.
Ong also defended Americans’ right to own so-called “assault rifles,” which are really just semi-automatic rifles. Citing a recent purchase of 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” by the Department of Homeland Security, he noted how the agency described the weapons as “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.”
He went on: “Had the Koreans in the LA riots not had AR-15s and AK-47s with 30-round magazines — and Ruger 30s — their businesses would have burnt to the ground like all the other businesses in their neighborhoods. Theirs stood because they stood their ground.”
Driving a point home that many U.S. lawmakers don’t even seem to fully understand, the legal immigrant stated definitively that the Second Amendment’s purpose was not for hunting.
In closing, Ong quoted a famous statement by Judge Alex Kozinski in his dissent on the case of Silveira v. Lockye in 2002.
“My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history. The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime usually do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed only for those exceptionally rare circumstances when all other rights have failed. A free people can only afford to make this mistake once.”
Ong ended his testimony to applause from the audience.
* In reality, school shooting deaths have actually experienced a steady decline between 1993 and 2010, studies show.