Thursday, May 19, 2011


Gun culture in India is getting out of control

What is one thing common between Ram Sanwari of UP, Gulshan Kumar, Pramod Mahajan, Shanmugam Manjunath, Syed Modi, Munish Chander Puri, Radhika Tanwar and Jessica Lal - besides the fact that all of them faced an untimely death? Well, all these people were victim of small arms! They were all shot to death. In simple word, these people and thousands more, would have lived more if the guns would have decided otherwise.

It is estimated that around 46,000,000 (46 million) guns are there in India, making the country the second nation in terms of private gun ownership. Surprisingly, the rate of private gun ownership is 4.2 firearms per 100 people, while the rate of registered firearms is merely 0.50 firearms per 100 people, indicating that a huge number of people in India hold unregistered and un-licensed guns. Th is not only makes it tough for authorities to track misuse of such weapons and track the murderer in most of the cases, but also speaks volumes about the illegal gun market running parallel in the country. Hundreds of countrymade fire-arms were seized from a factory operating in Makrandpur in Kanpur. Similar seizure unearthed an entire parallel on-going illegal gun in Baranagar in Kolkata, Mandas village in Bihar, Agaarpur village in Nalanda and hundreds more such factories in state like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In legal market, the minimum price at which a gun available is Rs 70,000 and can go up to a few lakhs, depending upon the make of the gun. However, similar guns can be bought from these illegal factories for one-tenth of the price.

The issue here is not about just guns, but the manner in which it has always been symbolic to heady mix of ego and power. And that’s probably why private guns are rarely used for self-defense. It is not that it is unknown that it has always been a conspicuous possession (for marriages and functions), a show-piece in drawing room and a status symbol (symbol of power). There have been numerous cases, where air-firing led to deaths in marriage functions, guns have been repeatedly used by children to either murder or commit suicide, used to kill family members or relatives, and in most cases on trivial issues. In most of the countries like Australia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, china – firearms for personal protection not allowed while in Brazil one can’t carry guns outside home.

In countries like ours, where legal guns are very highly priced, it sends a wrong signal to the society clearly indicating that self defence is a right only to be availed by the rich. The problem is that even a blanket ban on gun-ownership cannot help till the time illegal gun market is completely uprooted and eliminated. Also till the time, the owners of such illegal guns are forced to confiscate their possession; issuing new gun license should be given a second thought. And frankly speaking owing to the high incidence of murders and suicides, we should not allow our citizens to possess any form of weapons, let alone guns. Possession of arms should be made a criminal offence.

And for those citizens who really fear a threat of life or property should be instead be allowed to hire authorised or approved professional private guards, at least till the time we mature enough to comprehend the statutory warnings of these dangerous possessions. It goes without saying that right to live should not come at the cost of someone else’s right to live.


1 comment:

  1. a wonderfull article resisting the use of illegal guns & a very well said by prof. Prasoon S Majumdar that "these people and thousands more, would have lived more if the guns would have decided otherwise". All the illegal gun manufacturing factories must be seized and licencing of gun should be very strictly procdured.