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Sikh-Americans Carrying Guns


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From Sikhchic. Very interesting, I think it's the same brother who wrote the 'Confessions of an American Sikh' book. It's well worth going to the original sc page and reading the posts left by US Sikhs in response also (link given at end).

He Wants Sikh-Americans to Bear Arms:
The Roundtable Open Forum # 104



Sikhs are a misunderstood religious group in the US.

Sikh men -- who traditionally sport beards and turbans -- are sometimes mistaken for fundamentalist Muslims hell-bent on America's destruction.

Which they, the Sikhs, are not.

In the month after 9/11, more than 300 hate crimes were committed against Sikhs according to the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based community group formed in response to that flurry of misguided reprisal attacks.

The mass shooting at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, last year was another disturbing example of the cultural confusion that the 550-year-old world religion causes for some Americans. Although Oak Creek authorities have yet to determine an official motive for the attack, the shooter’s white-supremacist background and alleged claims of an “impending racial war,” left little doubt that he targeted the Sikh community because of their differing cultural heritage.

Just last week, two incidents of mistaken xenophobia were reported: in Manhattan, a mob of 20 teenagers swarmed and beat a Columbia University professor, Sikh-American Prabhjot Singh, supposedly because his turban and beard signalled to the marauding teens that he was a terrorist. Professor Singh’s attackers allegedly yelled, “Get Osama,” before they left him with a broken jaw and several missing teeth.

In Mississippi, a judge ordered a Sikh defendant to “remove the rag on his head” or go to jail. The defendant had gotten arrested for carrying a short knife -- or a kirpan -- which, it turns out, is an article of faith that fully observant Sikhs are required to wear on their person at all times.

The kirpan is a ceremonial symbol of the martial history of the religion and the duty each Sikh has to serve the weak and the oppressed in society. Carrying the kirpan is one of the five articles of faith of Sikhism, a requirement entrenched in the 17th century by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last living Teacher of the religion. While advocates at the Sikh Coalition push for better education about their religion and cross-cultural outreach as a means to stop the uptick in violence toward Sikhs in the US, at least one American Sikh sees the legacy of the kirpan as a reason to arm up as a more direct method of deterrence.

Gursant Singh has a solution: he wants every Sikh man and woman to have access to and know how to use a firearm. He details it on his YouTube channel and writes about his disenfranchisement with other white Sikhs in his book, Confessions of an American Sikh.

Gursant Singh was born Clark Harris in 1956 to a proud military family in Southern California. In 1981 he became one of thousands of white converts to Sikhism in America. He is a uniquely American mix of red-blooded gun boosterism and the heritage of a religion birthed half a world away. Get this: he sued the State of California because he claimed its ban on assualt weapons and high-capacity magazines interferes with the practice of his religion, claiming that the articles of faith detailing kirpan-carrying extend to the bearing of large firearms.

Gursant doesn’t speak for the majority of Sikhs in America.

The kirpan is regarded by many Sikhs as a potent symbol of duty for Sikhs to serve humanity above self, but few Sikhs connect that tradition to gun ownership.

The following is an interview with Gursant about his outlying beliefs that Sikhs should arm themselves, and how Sikhism might evolve in our pistol-popping, American context.

* * * * *

Q: What is the place for guns in Sikhism?

Gursant Singh: Guru Gobind Singh said we should be armed to protect society against the tyrant and the oppressor. We should be ready to defend ourselves and defend those who can’t defend themselves. To train with firearms is, I think, a great way to increase your self-confidence and individual responsibility. I grew up with firearms so they’re very natural to me. But I hear so many people who say they’re afraid of a gun. [laughs]

It’s not the gun that is the thing to be afraid of. It’s the people who are using them. I think it’s important for our society to have the guns that these criminals have or that these hatemongers have. I feel a lot safer and I feel self-confidence that I can go where I want and I don’t have to fear someone attacking me.

Q: Are you always strapped then?

A: I just can’t imagine going out without wearing a handgun in today’s society. You’re just really asking for trouble especially in our situation where there are so many people out there who are ignorant and dangerous. It’s a personal defense weapon, and it's legal to get one. You can defend yourself and your family without too much practice. Take a few classes and get the license.

Q: What are you currently packing?

A: For 35 years, I’ve always used a revolver. I was convinced recently the more modern thing is a semiautomatic .45-caliber handgun. It’s definitely more modern and effective. Revolvers are really good; they’re easy to shoot. You don’t have to worry about a safety because the hammer comes back. They convinced me at the gun shop these semiautomatic weapons are very safe now. Which was the major reason I didn’t get one before. The .45 caliber is a much larger bullet, it has a lot more impact and will knock someone down, while the .38 revolver doesn’t have as much impact. With the revolver the cylinder has to turn when you pull the trigger so it’s not as accurate to shoot.

The main thing is you want to be trained with the handgun you use, so in the right situation you can act quickly. These things happen very quickly.

Q: So you think that the attack on the Columbia professor could have been deterred?

A: From what I saw, he [Prabhjot Singh] wasn’t wearing a kirpan, and I think that would’ve been a real deterrent. It’s too bad. I don’t think Sikhs should be victims. I think there are enough teachings in Sikh history, like by Guru Gobind Singh, that we should be able to defend ourselves and defend those who can’t defend themselves. That’s why, in my mind, we wear the kirpan.

Q: It seems like the Sikh-American community has a different idea.

A: I think most of the Sikhs coming from India to the USA are interested in making money and aren’t as interested in upholding the Sikh principles as Guru Gobind Singh laid them down. You’ll see political advocacy groups like the Sikh Coalition, and they’ll never talk about firearms or self-defense. They’re more interested in pacifism. I think the stress on education is important, but education is not everything. It’s definitely not going to help you in a one on one confrontation where someone has an agenda. Try using education against someone like [Oak Creek Gurdwara shooter] Michael Page.

Q: How has the community reacted to your YouTube channel or calls to start a Sikh shooting club?

A: I have been kind of surprised by the lack of the interest. I was just talking to my wife about the lack of interest. There are so few so-called observant Sikhs who would like to be defending themselves. I do see that there are a lot of Sikh youths between the ages of 16 and 25 who are getting back to the fundamentals of Guru Gobind Singh and the proficiency with self-defense.

I think there’s no substitute for guns. If you’ve got a mob or a bunch of people who want to attack you, a gun is a good equalizer. I think especially for women. I encourage women to learn how to use a firearm. And I think if all Sikhs had that weapon where they can legally have them, I don’t think people would mess around with them. They would never attack a Sikh if they knew he had a gun. That ‘s my opinion.

Q: You’re from a military family. Did you ever try to enlist?

A: I tried to get in the army in 1982, but I was denied basically for being Sikh and wearing a turban. This was even though I’m from an important family -- my dad was in the Marines for 14 years.

They’ve let three Sikhs in under an exemption they’ve been giving. I think they’re medical doctors. In 1948, President Truman had given an exemption for all Sikhs to join the army but in the 1980, the Moral Majority, they were a kind of right-wing Christian group, they had a lot of pressure on Ronald Reagan. So they changed that exemption.

Q: How did your ‘white’ Christian parents react to your conversion to Sikhism?

A: My father didn’t like it at first, and he kicked me out of the house basically. It took a few years to help him understand what Sikhs were about. He had to read a few books and see that it’s not a cult or something.

Q: But you’ve found a home in Yuba City?

A: The first Punjabi Sikh farmers came here at the turn of the 20th century. The oldest gurdwara in the entire country is here. So they’ve been Sikh farmers here for many, many generations. If you drive down Yuba City you’ll see gurdwaras on the side of the road, there are many of them in Fresno and Central Valley. My experience is that Sikhs are really good hard-working people. And they really have a good sense of values. I married a Punjabi lady about five years ago. And I’m really enjoying being in the family.

Q: But you haven’t gotten much of a response regarding gun ownership?

A: I’ve talked to maybe six or seven people who have called me on the telephone. I invite anyone to call me on the issue. I’ve gotten likes on Facebook and a lot of responses and views on YouTube, but in terms of people learning about firearms and incorporating it into their lifestyle, it’s very few.


Edited by dalsingh101
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From Sikhchic. Very interesting, I think it's the same brother who wrote the 'Confessions of an American Sikh' book. It's well worth going to the original sc page and reading the posts left by US Sikhs in response also (link given at end).


Isn't this the anti-Dasam Granth joker?

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Is he?

Where you get that information from.

Plus lets be frank, most of the rank and file of the Sikh community (everyday Joes) don't even know a thing about the Dasam Granth.

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It's the same Gursant from the confessions book as you mention above.

This is the same guy who tried to take the California state to the supreme court because he claimed that ""Guns are necessary to practice the Sikh religion'' or something very similar along those lines which implied that ''I am a Sikh and I need a gun''!!!

Anyway, everybody soon realized that he was just talking about his own personal interests and it was wrong to think that he was speaking for ALL of the Californian Sikhs. I'm sure that many Sikhs from California came forward and said that they have no personal interest in acquiring and keeping guns as part of sikhi and this guy was just talking about his own situation.

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He is actually being more true to dasmesh pita's original vision for Singhs being armed and ready than most Panjabi Sikhs/Singhs.

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The comments at the bottom of the website page, do seem to indicate support for Gursant Singhs views, most of them from american based sikhs.

Im in 2 minds, although I think in theory Gursant Singh is right, but with the average american being scared of or hating any man in a turban, adding a gun to the picture may make things worse.

It comes down to self-protection, so what is the best way to go about it? Get a gun, or actually learn self-defence?

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Im in 2 minds, although I think in theory Gursant Singh is right, but with the average american being scared of or hating any man in a turban, adding a gun to the picture may make things worse.

Truth be told, Sikhs are projecting serious weakness in the US.

Not to say they aren't facing a lot of issues, but still, that warrior 'rep' is definitely history out there.

Edited by dalsingh101
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Sikhs in the USA(like most of the world) want to work hard, get money and live good.

Okay, let's get beyond this religious or macho facade too many pendus hide behind then.

Looks like when it comes to trying to bully chuhray or chamaar, jat becomes a vuda soorma but when it comes to taking on Americans he becomes a minicab driving giddarh.

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Let's try and get beyond this jat thing as well.

You need to look closer to home for that problem.

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Plus why not bring that up?

If Jats, as per their constant assertion, are such a naturally brave 'warrior race' where the hell are they now?

I know PLENTY of them are in the states. Jats boys seem to have no problem forming violent Sikh-on-Sikh murdering gangs in Vancouver, so where are the warriors in the US where they are needed? Hiding under the bed?

I highlight all this to give a good kick to the chauvinistic, self aggrandising jat bullshit that permeates that community.

Garb gunjan

All that said and done, I am genuinely shocked that more Sikh people don't arm themselves for self protection, where they are legally allowed to do it. Says a lot.

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  • 8 years later...

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