Koreatown Twenty-Six Years Ago: The Guns of the L.A. Riots

Twenty-six years ago, from April 29 to May 4,1992, much of Los Angeles was ablaze. In the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict, South Central L.A. was consumed by riots and looting. Homes and business were burglarized and destroyed by arson. Law-abiding people and business owners were mugged, beaten and robbed.

The LAPD pulled out and basically told folks in the worst-hit areas that they were on their own. But a small section of Los Angeles known as Koreatown, located just north of South Central, didn’t burn. Why? Because the Korean business owners banded together, exercised their Second Amendment rights and protected their property, their businesses, and their livelihoods. Here are some of the news reports from the riots.

They were well armed and they defended themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the guns they used.

Two Korean Americans take cover behind a forklift during an exchange of gunfire between store owners and looters.

We have a GLOCK and what appears to be a stainless 1911. This was back in 1992, so the GLOCK more than likely is the Model 19. The .40 S&W while just recently introduced a couple of years prior, was more popular in the law enforcement market than the civilian market. This was before the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, so 15- and  17-round magazines were easy to get.

What appears to be a 1911 actually isn’t. It’s a Colt Double Eagle. They were a 1911 Slide and Barrel on a double action frame and were made only for a short period of time. They were chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm Auto and used standard 1911 magazines. They were Colt’s answer to the SIG Sauer P220 and the S&W Model 4506/4566 line.

Korean supermarket employee returns fire from drive-by shooters at the corner of Western Avenue and 5th Street while attempting to protect the market from looters.

This gentleman is shooting what appears to be your standard period Colt Model 1991 Commander. It came from the factory with G.I. sights and a ring hammer. They used the Series 80 safety block and came with a stainless barrel. They were a more affordable option from Colt and that made them popular.

Store owner Richard Rhee keeps vigil on the roof of his grocery store.

Here’s a blued Colt Government Model .380 and an equally impressive period cellphone. Specifically a black Motorola DynaTAC commonly known as the “brick”. The Government Model .380 was part of Colt’s .380 Concealed Carry line back before the .380 pocket pistol market took off with guns like the Kel-Tec P3AT and the Ruger LCP.

This is a Korean store employee armed with a Norinco made MAK-90 AK pattern rifle. The fully-enclosed front sight hood is the give-away. Norinco Type 56s and MAK-90s had them while your Eastern European and Egyptian made guns had the standard winged sight protector. There is also the George Bush import ban-compliant thumb-hole stock.

Here we see what appears to be a Benelli M3 and an unknown Over & Under shotgun. The Benelli M3 was and is a fantastic police shotgun. Semi-automatic with the ability to switch to pump action so the shooter can use low recoil shells that wouldn’t properly cycle in a gas driven gun like a Rmeington 11-87.

Armed volunteers take position behind cabbage boxes as they guard a market from approaching looters during the second day of riots.

Personal hunting guns were also employed. Traditional over/under shotguns and a Remington 700 bolt action rifle. Sure, the O/U isn’t “tactical” but it’s better than harsh language when looters are trying to trash your store. And 00 buck will ruin anyone’s day.

Korean Security Guard taking cover while his cohorts provide over-watch.

This security guard is armed with the ever popular wheel gun. Either a Smith & Wesson K-frame service revolver or a Taurus Clone. I’m leaning towards the Taurus due to the half lug on the barrel and it being a blued finish.

The blued S&W K-Frame in .38 Special had an exposed ejector rod like the Model 10 and the only .357 Magnum K-Frame with a half lug like that was the S&W Model 66 which was stainless. Taurus did a K-frame clone like the one shown in a blued finish, fixed sights, with a half lug, and came in either .38 Special or .357 Magnum.

The Mossberg 500 Tactical 8 Shot also played a role. Here you have a Korean grocery store employee standing guard inside the business with one.

Period newspaper photo showing David Joo armed with a TEC-9.

This being the early 90s, the Intratec TEC-9 was an extremely popular (if misguided) pistol. It was designed by George Kellgren (current owner and lead designer of Kel-Tec) in 1985 and was a huge seller that stayed in production even during the Clinton AWB.

(The gentleman behind Mr. Joo is holding a Remington 870 with a LE Overfold stock.)

Another standard TEC-9 being held as someone listens to the latest news on the radio.

Here we have a young man carrying a chrome finished A.A. Arms Kimel AP-9 as the LAFD is attempting to save a building. The AP-9 strongly resembles the TEC-9.

Korean store owners and employees keeping watch from the roof.

In this iconic photo, the gentleman on the far right is armed with a Ruger Mini-14. Chambered in 5.56x45mm, the Ruger Mini-14 was a very affordbale option at the time. Colt, Bushmaster, and Olympic Arms all made AR-15s, but prices for those were closer to $1,000. A Mini-14 cost around $250-$300 and 20- and 30-round magazines were easy to get. The man to the left of him has an unknown shotgun.

A Korean man carries an rifle to prevent looters from entering a grocery store .

Last but not the least, is a man armed with a Daewoo K1. This is a South Korean-designed and built rifle still used to this day by the ROK Army. It is a direct impingement design like an AR-15 and uses standard AR-15 STANAG pattern magazines and is chambered in 5.56 x 45mm.

Entering service as a replacement for the M3 “Grease Gun” SMG, it was designed with an 11.5-inch barrel and a small flash-hider like the Colt XM-177 carbines from Vietnam. Deawoo made a 16-inch model for the American civilian market.


Sold in the US until George Bush import ban, it was sold under two names by the various importers. They were marketed as the Daewoo K1A1 Rifle and the AR-110C carbine and were priced to compete against the Ruger Mini-14.

AR-15s just weren’t as common at the time. They were pricey and had a number of lower-priced competitors. You had the influx of Norinco made AKs which were priced around $250 and SKS carbines, sometimes for under $100, There were the Daewoos and Mini-14s directly competing at about the same price point, not to mention common hunting guns.

On the handgun side of things. the revolver was still holding strong. GLOCK was just beginning to gain ground while the wonder nines of the era like the Beretta 92, S&W Model 5906, and SIG Sauer P226 were starting to sell like hot cakes. And there was always the classic 1911.

Just as today, these were Americans defending their property the best they could with the most effective tools they had. They were basically on their own, left to deal with the situation themselves.

Today, of course, everything you see above (with the exception of the security guard) is illegal in California. Open carry is forbidden, as are “high capacity” magazines. If you own a gun like that Daewoo K1, you were obligated to register it with the state.

And that photo showing people buying firearms to protect themselves and their property during the rioting is a relic, too. California now has a 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases. The 1992 riots lasted five days and did over $1 billion in property damage. If it happened today, anyone who didn’t already own firearms would be out of luck.


  1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    CA already had a waiting period for handguns back then. If that revolver is a Taurus I had the identical gun. It was a very accurate weapon, equal to any of the Smiths I’ve owned.

    Ar’s were pricey. And they carried the Nam era stigma of their reliability failures.

    Chris Mallory would have us deport all those brave Americans because they ain’t white.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Who the hell is Chris Mallory?

      1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        Like you, he’s anti immigrant. He says anyone that did not live here prior to 1960 needs to get out.

        1. avatar Art out West says:

          Dang! I was born in the 70’s. I guess I’ve got to go. Where do I go?

  2. avatar pwrserge says:

    Yeah… the LA riots are always my standby of why EVERYONE needs an “assault weapon”. I’d argue that they are evidence of why everyone needs a GPMG.

      1. avatar aDistantLight says:

        Interesting that the two street signs in the store were Corona and Corona.

    1. avatar Higgs says:

      Your list should also include Katrina and the Ferguson riots also.

  3. avatar MyName says:

    “The blued S&W K-Frame in .38 Special had an exposed ejector rod like the Model 10 and the only .357 Magnum K-Frame with a half lug like that was the S&W Model 66 which was stainless.”

    Not quite: S&W Model 19. .357, half lug, shrouded ejector – own one, love it. AKA S&W Combat Magnum. The 66 is a stainless 19.

    1. avatar Armed Partisan says:

      I’m glad somebody said it! Heresy to not know S&W’s best revolver!

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        ‘Heresy,’ Sir, is not acknowledging the Registered .357 Magnum of 1935 as S&W’s premium revolver. Each one was custom made to order and certified as such, hand-fitted and assembled, with the finest polishing, checkering, color case-hardening, and bluing that S&W could produce.
        Model 19s are nice, but they just don’t measure up to a Registered.

    2. avatar Brian says:

      19’s all have half underlugs. The one in the picture only has a small locking lug in front of, not under, the ejector. It looks like a 10 but with adjustable rear sight (mod 15) but the cylandar looks too long for .38 spl’s, thus the idea its a taurus

  4. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    I imagine that today in California anyone that fired on rioters attacking their property would face prison time. Rioters are a protected class in most larger cities. The certainly were a couple years ago in Mpls/St. Paul.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:


    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Not sure that would be the case. In a riot that large there are lots of armed miscreants and they are prone to shoot one another over some real or perceived slight as well as settling old scores. In the dynamic environment of a riot you may not have the chance to pick up your brass, so a revolver might be a better choice than the standard 9mm self defense gun.

      1. avatar TTACer says:

        Project much?

    3. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Rioters are a protected class in most larger cities.
      With Obonzo and Demoncraps they most certainly are. Baltimore Mayor stating that the rioters needed room to exercise their rights. Ferguson was a staged Demoncrap event.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        You’re right. In large cities the screaming maniacs are protected…… which is why nonsense like this doesn’t happen in the conservative suburbs. The riot would last 5 minutes (enough time for word to get out) and they would be slaughtered or selectively picked off, if we’re being discrete. Today, if they want to burn LA, SF, DC, Chiraq, etc, I say let em burn.

    4. avatar SurfGW says:

      Very true. LAPD / sheriffs reported after the riots that of all of the cases investigated where Korean shopowners shot at “rioters” the police couldn’t find any evidence that rioters were placing shopowners lives in danger to warrant shooting. Puts a cloud on those “firefights” with looters…. with cameras all over today, the shopowners would face rapid prosecution

      1. avatar Cornholio says:

        “LAPD / sheriffs reported after the riots that of all of the cases investigated…”

        And you believe them?

      2. avatar George Boynton says:

        Rioters do not have the right to loot and pillage. I applaud the Koreans!

  5. avatar Tomas says:

    Where is the photos of the guy patrolling the roof with an uzi? I always remembered that guys silhouette holding that uzi

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      i remember a guy leaning over a parapet with an M1 carbine.

    2. He can be seen in the first video.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        I missed it on the first watch. Good eye Dan.

  6. avatar bobo says:

    “Shoot—Loot–and Scoot!”

    the LA triathlon

    IT was a fun week to be in LA!

  7. avatar klaus says:

    Let them try to confiscate guns and roof Koreans won’t hold a candle to roof rednecks.

    1. avatar SurfGW says:

      Koreans respect the law. The only people in LA who have guns today are the PD and MS13 or related gangs

  8. avatar Woody from ny says:

    Awesome article and attached videos. Some people will never catch on that tranquil circumstances can shift dramatically

  9. avatar anonymoose says:

    That’s a Gen1 or 2 Glock 17. I can’t tell the generation without seeing the grip, but it’s definitely a 17 and not a 19.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      This. That’s clearly a full size, you can tell by the length of the rail. Without seeing the actual width, it could be a G20/21. If I were betting though, I’d say Gen 2 G17. The gen 2 originally didn’t have a rail, so it was a 1 or 2 depending on other features/attributes.

  10. avatar John J. McCarthy, Jr. says:

    True Americana.

  11. avatar samuraichatter says:

    One thing that always stuck out to me about the “roof top Koreans” was the entirely Asiatic way they went about the thing. It’s not a bad thing – it might even be a little good.

    Most westerners if they were to do a similar action would wear whatever and any clothing they put on would have a clearly physical/tactical purpose. If you have ever been to Asia, you know that they like “hats” both actual and metaphorical. Guys were putting on security jackets to make it “official”. And the head bands . . . O the headbands! If someone east of the Indus river puts on a head band its to work or fight .

    When I worked at a school in Thailand the nurse would wear a full nurse’s garb like out of the 50’s when she was doing her nursing duties (she was also a teacher). The kids had a uniform for everything. And every civil service employee had a uniform.

    Kinda like how Europeans love to have a union for everything. Leave it to Uber German Joerg Sprave to create a youtube union. I don’t know; I like Americana but we might be missing out on cool hats and beer infused union meetings 🙂

    1. avatar Dave Lewis says:

      My father in law served in the Philippines right at the end of WW2. He was one of the guys who helped open Clark Field back up for service. He said that the local guys who opposed the Japanese were proud to wear an Indiana Jones style Fedora hat. Everything you did was tied to your position in society. If you wore a straw hat you were a peasant because that was all you could afford. If you had a felt hat you were a little better off and it marked you as a man of property and a man of action who fought against the enemy. He remembered the local troops who came out of the boondocks with M-1 carbines and tommy guns, wearing khakis and fedoras. Dad said that they were major league bad dudes.

    2. avatar Art out West says:

      I like the knit white gloves some of the guys were wearing. I bought a 10 pack of that type of glove the last time I was in Japan. They work well for gardening, and are cheap to boot. Very Asian

  12. avatar Pete says:

    The state suspended all gun and ammo sales during that time, so if you weren’t prepared beforehand…
    Most of the shots fired by the shopkeepers were warning shots, once they realized that ammo resupply would be unavailable they warned that in any future rioting there would be on warning shots.

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      I was only 18 at the time (and not a Californian). Still, I distinctly remember the state suspending gun and ammo sales. That fact was seared into my mind. It was then that I realized you have to have your guns and ammo BEFORE things go bad.

      Also, any gun is far better than no gun. A simple Marlin 60 puts you light years ahead of the unarmed. For many years, the Marlin 60 was all I had.

      I’ve always had a lot of respect for the “rooftop Koreans”. They were honorable men protecting their families and property. Well done!

  13. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    Most Koreans I’ve encountered served in the military in their homeland and are very serious about self defense. They work hard, have a great respect for learning and their elders (and as an “elder” I appreciate that attitude) and don’t want to lose what they have to a bunch of cheap punks. We’ll see how the new relationship with Uncle Kim turns out, but for many years the South Koreans were the Sparta of the Far East – a little country filled with bad asses. I’m glad they’re our friends.

    In 1992 my “keep off my lawn” guns were a Mossberg 500 – not a bad choice, a Smith 686 and a Ruger Mini 30. I still have all three and many others. I even have a Garand and a 1911 so that I can play Clint Eastwood.

  14. avatar Gbob says:

    Fantastic article. great pics. Great writeup.

  15. avatar W says:

    Wikipedia says that 12,111 were arrested.
    2383 were injured. And 63 were killed.

    Real people who had nothing to do with the Rodney King beating were killed.
    (Graphic content warning. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-la-riots-korean-american-filmmakers-20170428-htmlstory.html)

  16. avatar strych9 says:

    These days if there were renewed riots like this everyone in the area would be a Reginald Denny in waiting.

  17. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Colt, Bushmaster, and Olympic Arms all made AR-15s, but prices for those were closer to $1,000. A Mini-14 cost around $250-$300 and 20- and 30-round magazines were easy to get.

    Inflation over the last 26 years means those AR-15s would have a $2,300 (or thereabouts) price tag today. That explains why there were not a lot of purchasers.

    The good news is that you can acquire a decent new AR-15 for about $800 today, where “decent” means good enough to defend your store during a large-scale prolonged riot.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Hell, you could buy a parts gun from PSA for $400. It’ll last long enough to take a couple mags through it if you had to pop shot some looters. The reason being is they’re so prevalent now. Too much supply, not enough demand (numbers-wise), cheaper stuff.

    2. avatar Timothy says:

      Half that if you shop around and have a chance to work out kinks before hand. Jon beat me to it

  18. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Impromptu militias like this are the most American of traditions. When the system fails, and your back is against the wall, banding together with your 2A rights to defend your homes is more American than apple pie. It’s bred into us. There were similar instances in Ferguson and Baltimore. I particularly like the “all damn day” photo from that go around. We’re always one punk getting shot away from societal breakdown and anarchy, in which law enforcement will retreat, and give “those that wish to destroy, room to destroy.” What is also scary, yet fascinating, is how fast these incidents can happen. In mere hours, a city can go from a normal day, to the zombie apocalypse.

  19. avatar ironicatbest says:

    And Weatherby did the same with their Mark V’s, I think a couple guys had sidearms

  20. avatar cisco kid says:

    The article conveniently failed to mention that if was the outrageous gestapo racist tactics of the police that caused the riots and then the police cowards refused to enter the sections of town that needed them most, not that they could not have done so if they had wanted to. Cops were brave only before the riots when they often outnumbered a single individual by at least 5 to 1 but when the tables were turned and they might have been out numbered they turned and ran as most bullies are cowards.

    Lets face facts even a few well armed highly trained storm troopers can defeat overwhelming numbers of ordinary rioters who are often unarmed or the few that are armed are armed with inferior weapons. The police had full auto arms available something the average rioter did not have and the majority of the rioters were actually “unarmed” as they were interested in looting and many were children and females yet the cowardly police holed up in their departments screaming for the National Guard to get them out of the trouble they themselves created.

    In 3rd world countries they would have went in with just a few storm troopers and on each street shot down unarmed people or armed people leaving their bodies in the streets as a warning. That gets the rioters attention very fast and puts an end to the rioting often withing hours.

    This was actually done in San Francisco in the early 1900’s when an earth quake hit.

    And lets not forget the riots of the 1960’s in California again due to racial discrimination, if the problem had been dealt with back in the 60’s these later riots would never have happened.

    And of course the anti-gun counter argument is that if there had been severe restrictions on weapons which would have disarmed permanently the average citizen the cops could have easily went into the riots with little fear of return fire. This is often a proven case in many countries that have severe firearms restrictions. I would say if the riots had happened in London today even in the worst end of town the police would have little to fear if they had to go into a riot. The terror attack on the bridge last year proved at how effective their gun control laws are. The terrorists could not get even shotguns and actually got the shit beat out of them when they entered a bar with knives to kill people. The bar patrons attacked them with chairs and broken beer bottles and beat the hell out of them.

    1. avatar Waffensammler98 says:

      “blah blah blah I’m a devout marxist parasite and a shill for gun control.” Please give it a rest.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        That Crisco Kid is one slippery customer.

    2. avatar trjnsd says:

      Rodney King was a Felon, driving drunk, and during an attempt by LAPD and CHP to stop him, King endangered hundreds of other people by failing to stop. At the end of the chase LAPD officers had their hands full trying to contain and arrest a very large King who was high as a kite and violent. The end of that confrontation was caught on video, not the beginning, and it looked awful. Proper tactics by the officers instead of adrenalin might have helped the arrest go better. The violence that followed the trial of the officers (yes, they were put on trial, not King) was the fault of a drunken felon’s illegal behavior, who never should have been out of jail in the first place, and hundreds of his like-minded gangster hoodlums who used the trial as a excuse to pillage and burn other peoples’ property; to scream in the streets instead of cleaning them up; to steal and loot and riot again, just like 1965 in Watts. That one started over a parking ticket, if I recall correctly.

      1. avatar cisco kid says:

        trjnsd says:
        April 29, 2018 at 18:53

        quote—————————–The end of that confrontation was caught on video, not the beginning, and it looked awful.———————quote

        Nice try with the veiled racist response but you fool no one and your overlooking the horrific facts of the case. Mark Furman and the rest of his racist Nazi Thugs went to trial and their treatment of people rivaled that of the Nazi Thugs in Hitlers Germany. As I previously mentioned if that type of behavior would have been dealt with severely back in the 1960’s there never would have been any Nazi thugs like Furman ever hired at the LAPD.

        1. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

          Wrong trial Cisco. Mark Furman was the OJ trial. You need to live in the LA basin for a while to keep the SoCal lunacy straight.

      2. avatar Torro Viejo says:


      3. avatar George Boynton says:

        You are correct. I saw the 4 minute clip of King’s arrest. The officers professionally arrested his 3 buddies after getting them out of the car. King kept attacking the officers for several minutes and disobey their commands. The last 45 seconds looked bad. The media kept replaying the last 45 seconds and help create the riots.

    3. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      And yet those ‘cowardly gestapo’ types are the only ones you want to be armed. And under the orders of your hero, Trump.

      Your mother and father were brother and sister, right?

    4. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Well I guess you’ll be fine Crisco, since your magical 9mm can pierce a steel helmet at an astonishing 125 yards. 😂

      1. avatar cisco kid says:

        New Continental Army says:
        April 29, 2018 at 19:37
        quote————————Well I guess you’ll be fine Crisco, since your magical 9mm can pierce a steel helmet at an astonishing 125 yards.———————–quote

        That was documented by the U.S. Army in 1945. See the book ” The Inglis Diamond”.

        Now don’t you wish you would have kept your big mouth shut instead of making an absolute fool out of yourself. Your like Trump all mouth and you do little reading.

        1. avatar General Zod says:

          Seeing you demand that someone else not make a fool of themselves is the height of comedy. Especially after your fact-free rant earlier. Take your own advice next time.

        2. avatar Eli2016 says:

          Billy the kid. It’s no one’s fault that you have to take meds to survive each day and that you have to eat the same burritos every day holed up in a trailer park. But at least put some links in so we can check up on those strange facts that pour out of your mouth or should I say mind. I understand that being a paranoid schizophrenic is difficult but make an effort for trump’s sake. Bwahaha…..

    5. avatar Toni says:

      and meanwhile many millions of disarmed people die at the hands of their government…… all because they have a slightly different view to what the govt says they should. GFY you statist POS. you care not about liberty most of us here do. as i have said before i would love to be a fly on the wall and hear your screams when the gov you so adore decides to bend you over backwards and F you up the ass

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Toni, he’ll *enjoy* that treatment up the backside…

    6. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

      Actually, the LA police had a “us vs. them attitude” in those days. “”Us” being anyone in police uniforms and “them” being anyone else.
      I still remember seeing the smoke from the riots and laughing at anyone running to a gun shop trying to purchase a firearm.

      1. avatar anonymoose says:

        And the cops don’t still have an “us vs. them” attitude? If anything, things have gotten worse.

    7. avatar Paul m says:

      You are a truly stupid human being. Although, you did say one thing I agree with in regard to the bar patrons. When confronted with violence; attack.

    8. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Well, no. “Severe restrictions on weapons” are about as effective as severe restrictions on sundry narcotics—which is to say not very restrictive at all. Go to any city or town in America and within an hour you can purchase virtually any supposedly illegal drug you want to buy. Despite being severely restricted, they’re easily available in plain sight on our nation’s street corners. It’s the same with guns. Passing laws against something doesn’t mean they’ll be effective. Smugglers would love to have the US institute comprehensive gun control.

  21. avatar Figaro says:

    Travis Allen for CA governor. He might be the state’s last chance. Pro 2A, pro business, anti sanctuary bs. Check him out.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      So no chance in hell of him ever being elected. Just another reason Cali needs to be split up into at least 6 states.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Cali is actually going to get secession on the next ballot, they got the required number of signatures to be on the ballot…

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          EDIT – Not quite, but close –

          “The ‘Calexit’ plan to split California from the US gets a second chance, while others are looking to break up the state”


    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      You are talking about California, where Nancy Pelosi is considered not “progressive” enough. A Conservative doesn’t stand a chance of being elected governor.

  22. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Nope…Even as non-firearms owner, living in an Anti-2nd Amendment/Eastern Bloc- Socialist Authoritarian Police-State…The photo and answer was a “Glock M17.”

  23. avatar Dan says:

    In the first video, I find it interesting how the news reporters are more concerned whether the guns might be illegal rather than the fact that citizens have to resort to defending their own property because of the useless response of the police and national guard. The anti gun bias was incredibly strong even back then.

    1. avatar SurfGW says:

      All of those guns were likely illegal. LA has had really strong gun control since the 1950’s but those guns might have been legal in OC or Riverside or other places where the Koreans could buy them. Now, most of the state matches LA’s gun laws, so it is not as much of a problem

      1. avatar anonymoose says:

        “not as much of a problem”
        Sounds like the problem has metastasized.

  24. avatar GS650G says:

    Seeing those riots on TV my wife, who was on the fence about guns in the house, said to me ” I’m glad we have guns.”

  25. avatar moishe says:

    I like the way Fake New anchorwoman in the first video (2:32) commenting that a man walking on the roof, armed with Uzi “will be a disturbing sight to LAPD”. Apparently for this moron burning, looting, shooting at innocent civilians is not disturbing enough for LAPD.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      it couldn’t have been a disturbing sight for the LAPD, as there was no LAPD there to observe it.

  26. avatar Time4truth says:

    Excellent story. I’ll make sure both of my children read this. The stories of American history that will get lost because those who oppose 2A will never pass them on.

  27. avatar MIO says:

    Awesome article

  28. avatar fteter says:

    I was in LA during the riots. Lived in Orange County. Had to venture through Koreatown and South Central LA several times during the 1st and 2nd day of the riots to evacuate loved ones. And I saw some really interesting things: a real hodgepodge of rifles, handguns and shotguns. But it seemed like EVERYBODY had something and made sure they were visible, in the hopes that the show of force would be a deterrent. It worked.

    The interesting thing was that, during the first hours of the riots, Koreatown was definitely a target of choice for looters. But the shop owners quickly and visibly armed up as a community, especially after the local PD essentially announced that they were on their own, and the looters just as quickly moved to easier targets.

    I had a few “exciting” experiences of my own and found that just having my pistol visible was a great deterrent. When I get into discussions these days around the 2nd Amendment, I always think back to the riots and how the armed community in Koreatown weathered the storm. Probably the most powerful argument for the purpose and power of the 2nd Amendment in recent history. And, while history may not repeat itself, it sure does rhyme.

  29. avatar Martin B says:

    Wow! In 1992 I was still “healthy” and working (mostly). I saw the riots on TV (I live in New Zealand). I had never seriously given a second thought to my personal safety, even though my job took me into the less sulubrious parts of the community, including gang houses, and I relied on tact and a pleasant personality to get me through the day. I was shaken by the riots, though. It reminded me of the few news clips I had seen of the riots in Watts and elsewhere in the 60s. This probably played a part in my later developing an interest in firearms, once my illness gave me the leisure to decide on some more hobbies. Our Police are very far from the thugs of the LAPD, in fact they are rarely armed (though they have weapons in their cars). Although there are always a few rotten apples, by and large our friendly Police contribute to a much safer society. But kudos to the Korean Americans who protected their own. They manned up when it counted. Also the respect we feel for our Maori culture and people helps prevent the kind of separation and resentment that simmers in America.

  30. avatar IdahoPete says:

    And the media pukes called these armed citizens “snipers”. “Journalism”. Right.

  31. avatar Lisa Flores says:

    Me and my husband Eric Serrano, my parents, my sons, my boys Pedro and Miguel Serrano, dad Adolfo Flores and my brother Ricardo Flores have all firearm guns inside my residence looking for trespassers, loiterers, robberies and burglaries in progress, then we shoot down the perpretrator, if survived, we shoot them again and again until it dies. We shoot without warnings after we were scared with LA 1992 Riots Citywide including Koreatown and we were placed on highschool Roosevelt lockdown could not take the midterm exams due to breaking news LA Violent Riots 1992 who destroyed everything citywide plus Koreatown, my boyfriend then SWAT husband Eric Serrano could not celebrate his 22th birthday college student at Cal State LA with his classmates due to his parents were law enforcers were stuck deep trouble in Koreatown because of LA Riots in Koreatown where looters attempted vandalism so my boyfriend then husband Eric Serrano and my father in law (uncle) Ulises Serrano had to get gigantic firearm service revolver pistolguns from LAPD Olympic Station to Ktown to shoot down, open fire and executing firing squad executions who looted and injured the victims of the people in Koreatown and mid-cities LA citywide until the riot stops in Cinco de Mayo 1992, it was a week riots who made an attempted murder or full murder of building destroyed in midtown LA 1992 until rebuild Koreatown until 1993 with funding donations to restore aftermath of the disturbance 92. Me and my mom were crying due to the destroying our city with placed in lockdown at home so my boyfriend, dad and uncles went out to take action seriously heading into Koreatown to stop the riots by using shotguns until they’re executed fatally shot to deathe by firing squad for felony lootings and homicide murders between April 29, 1992 to Cinco de Mayo 1992 just like China and Korea have felony capital punishment firingsquad execution. Koreatown is still my district we enjoy barbeques, not the riots since we are the anti-riots preventing and refraining the happening high risk of crimes exactly in 1992.
    Until Cinco de Mayo 1992, we all fought against the riots who messed up my Koreatown LA since we could not shop for Korean groceries bring home to bbq because due to lots of Afroblack looters stole lots of Korean food to burn down upon the serious confrontation opening firing squad shooting against the looters who destroyed all Korean merchandises from the storefronts on Olympic and Western 10 km long until shots fired are executed.
    Luckily felony crimes committed against Koreatown defendants and offenders were sentenced to a minimum of 10 years to maximum of lifetime imprisonment in state prison without parole after someone or anyone lost their lives in Koreatown due to assassination with the riots.
    My Koreatown District me and my families shop there was a devastated horrible total loss scene costing trillions of USD dollars and Korean Won to fundraise and rebuild and restore Koreatown until the end of 1995.
    After Rodney King Beating Trial Case by law enforcers were innocent and dismissed but people of Rodney King started the riots citywide without warnings since 1991 and 1992.
    We started to carry handguns when we go out 24/7/365 at all times permanently for the rest of the lives forever and ever.
    WARNING: In 1991 and 1992, suspected shoplifters and looters ran away from all stores in Koreatown were chased by armed storekeepers and security guards by using shotguns to shootdown takedown disable the suspected larcenies collapsing down, held down until polizei gyeongchal arrived to place them under-arrest, taken into custody and charged them with felony crimes with prosecution then convicted and sentenced to caning lashing corporal punishment beating with a electric batons at state prison whose crimes committed in Koreatown by LAPD Wilshire Station Division then Olympic Division.
    Koreatown is an expensive district after the 1992 LA Civil Rights Movement Riot in the City of Los Angeles since 1952. We needed to protect Koreatown by defending against the suspected crime committers out of here. We are the Anti-Rioters and Riot-Fighters against the suspected shoplifters and looters after Latasha Harlins fatally shot by firing squatters who stole a bottle of OJ and assaulted a Korean-Angeleno store clerk in South Central Los Angeles on Broadway and Vernon Avenue since 1991 when we live in Boyle Heights longtime ago but my boyfriend was an cadet explorer at la police academy and my father-in-law worked at LAPD Hollenbeck Divison but all of my friends and families had to go to Koreatown with his son cadet Eric Serrano, son of SWAT detectives, father of the cadet trainee wore bulletproof vest to stop the riot shooting against looters until suspects disarmed then taken into custody or shot-2-deathe on the streets, until it stops without hurting our community.
    As of now, all of the Koreatown premises have lots of armed security guards guarding the storefronts and buildings of Koreatown safety and security reasons preventing a terror in that district since 9112001 when the crimes went up to 2001. Now crimes down as of 2018.
    This is the 26th year anniversary we celebrated sa-i-gu 19920429 lariotsinkoreatown praying the peace and joy of riots are never again, we keep the districts and my citywide safe.

  32. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Thank you for writing this, Lisa. It’s always useful to be able to read an account from someone who witnessed the riots when they happened.

  33. avatar Docduracoat says:

    You can still buy a mini 14 in California. you are just limited to 10 round magazines.
    You can also buy one of the Ares A.R. 15 type rifles with the Monte Carlo hunting stock and the rat tail bolt.
    Unless you bought 20 and 30 round magazines during the recent one week grace period kerfuffle of the appeals court.
    Those magazines are still legal.
    you still have a choice if you want to protect yourself and your property with a 223 assault style rifle.

  34. avatar Jack Smackinlibs says:

    “Last but not the least, is a man armed with a Daewoo K1. This is a South Korean-designed and built rifle still used to this day by the ROK Army. It is a direct impingement design like an AR-15 and uses standard AR-15 STANAG…”

    The Daewoo K1 is NOT direct impingement, it is a long stroke piston like the AK. The K1 is like an AR in the lower, barrel, and bolt, but like an AK in the gas system, piston and bolt carrier.

    Very bad reporting.

  35. avatar bruno says:

    The Glock wasn’t that popular in’92. Today you can use a Glock of your choosing and use a 32 round magazine. It holds the same amount of ammo, 9m or 40 m as a AR – 15. Let’s pray it doesn’t come to that. Always check with the gun laws of your state if the mags are legal. The south Korean people are very brave. I’ve taken korean karate, but that’s not enough to defend your family. Let’s all pray for peace. God bless !!!!!!!

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