Gun control laws in India are already incredibly restrictive, and have been for more than a century. Back in the 1870’s the British passed the Indian Arms Act, which banned Indians from owning or making firearms without a license (which the British authorities would seldom, if ever, grant). Ever since, gun ownership has been treated as a privilege, not a right, and even though the nation is home to more than one billion people, it’s estimated that there are only about four million legal gun owners in the entire country. Those few gun owners are about to face another draconian restriction on their ability to own firearms; a new bill introduced would limit legal gun owners to just one firearm.
No Indian citizen should own more than one licensed firearm, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has proposed in a draft amendment to the Arms Act of 1959 that currently permits an Indian to own as many as three firearms.
The proposed law will affect owners of approximately four million licensed firearms in the country. A sizeable section of licence holders, many of whom are also shooters, possess multiple firearms. The Centre proposes to introduce the new laws through Arms Amendment Bill 2019 as HT earlier reported.
For members of shooting clubs, however, the old law as well as the proposed one permits one additional firearm.
Significantly, Monday’s move comes less than a month after the MHA proposed to reduce the permissible limit on firearms from three to two and sought opinion from state governments since law and order is a State subject.
From three to two, now from three to one. How long before the limit drops from one to zero? Gun owners in India are pushing back on the proposal, but as you can imagine, their voices are largely being ignored. Gun owners here in the United States should listen up, however, because what they’re saying there sounds a lot like the complaints of gun owners in California, New Jersey, or other anti-gun states.
“As a Kshatriya and a Rajput, I am appalled. It is the dharm (duty) of every Kshatriya to bear arms to protect his community, fellow citizens and motherland. This dharm supersedes all other laws. Rajputs in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are extremely agitated. We would gladly go to jail but never surrender our legally held arms,” said Yuvraj Yograjsinhji of Mansa, Gujarat.
A commercial airline pilot based in Delhi, Rakshit Sharma and his family owns several firearms. “This is one of the most regressive moves against law abiding citizens. Law abiding citizens have never been a problem and same is reflected in National Crime Records Bureau’s data. Criminals own illegal weapons, not us.”
“I have two .22 caliber rifles and two .22 caliber for training my students. Four budding shooters can practice at a time. Giving up these weapons would affect so many. I don’t think the government understands this or cares for that matter,” said Hemant V Jadhav, an ISSF pistol coach based in Maharashtra and founder of an online air pistol coaching website that has members in 34 countries.
“We will not comply.”
“Law abiding citizens aren’t the problem. Focus on the criminals.”
“This will actually hurt responsible gun ownership, but the government doesn’t seem to care.”
As it turns out, gun control is a universal language, but so is the language of the law-abiding gun owner. The arguments against stripping people of their ability to own firearms aren’t that different whether there’s a Second Amendment involved or not. The difference between India and the United States is that our Second Amendment has helped to prevent our laws from looking like India’s. Gun owners need to commit to working as hard as possible to elect pro-Second Amendment candidates next November to keep it that way.