Moving to Shoot

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

While the Philippines has relaxed gun laws compared to much of the world, compared to the United States it has fairly restrictive laws. So Athena Lee moved to the US — more specially, to Texas, rather than, say, California:

Back in the Philippines, every time there is an election, which is about every year, they enact gun bans. That means that 45 days prior to and 45 days after the election, you can’t go out and shoot at a shooting range or carry your gun outside the house. The screwy thing about that is that over there, all guns are licensed. That is partially how the police get their revenue. Every time you renew your gun license, which is every year or two, or to get a permit to carry which is a separate permit, you have pay licensing fees. It’s kinda messed up.

I like to shoot when I want to, not only six months out of the year. I decided to move to greener pastures, and I had the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. One of the ways you can become a Permanent Resident here in the US is to be what they refer to as an “Athlete of Extraordinary Ability” and at that time in 1999 I won my first World Championship in IPSC. They counted that as qualifying for an O-1 Visa, so I took that opportunity to move here.

At first it was difficult, because in the Philippines I didn’t work and my parents paid for everything. Once I got here it was a real wakeup call. The sad thing about it was that as soon as I moved here I had to work, and that meant I couldn’t shoot as much. Somehow I still managed to weave my shooting into my schedule.

I had to grow up really fast when I moved here.

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