A new gun control bill that would prohibit any legal gun owner from possessing more than one firearm, as well as further restricting who can own firearms in the first place, is likely to be introduced in India’s Parliament in the near future.
India already has incredibly restrictive gun laws, and only about 4-million people in the nation of over 1-billion are allowed to own firearms. Once licensed and approved by the state, the Indian government restricts the number of firearms owned to three. Now a proposal recently approved by India’s cabinet would reduce that number to a single firearm.
Already, some in India are objecting to the proposal, including the chief minister of the Indian state of Punjab, on the country’s border with Pakistan. Even though Chief Minister Amarinder Singh lives thousands of miles from our borders, some of his arguments will sound very familiar to American gun owners.
Amarinder added that Punjab being a border state and having gone through a long period of terrorist violence, a large number of people possess more than one firearm and many farmers who reside away from the villages in their agricultural lands/farms also possess firearms for crop protection. Therefore, he wrote, it was also significant to note that only a very small fraction of crime was committed using licensed weapons…
Amarinder observed that restricting the number of firearms permissible on a license from three to one may not be of much help for control of crimes. On the contrary, a large number of people would be inconvenienced by way of the surrender of additional weapons and the farming community would also be deprived of weapons meant for crop protection, he added.
“These laws won’t have an impact on violent criminals, but will have a huge impact on the individuals who go through the lengthy and onerous process of becoming a legal gun owner,” in other words; just like the gun control proposals we’re seeing here in the United States.
The odds are high that this proposal will pass Parliament, and the number of legally owned firearms in India could be slashed by two thirds. Whether or not India’s gun owners comply, or if there’s a sharp increase in the number of guns lost in boating accidents on the Ganges River remains to be seen.
It’s worth noting here that there is no right to keep and bear arms in India’s constitution. In fact, Indians have been denied their right to own firearms since the country was a British colony and the United Kingdom imposed a ban on Indians possessing arms in 1878 after a failed uprising. The colonial era gun ban was replaced by the Arms Control act of 1959 after India gained its independence, but the law still treats a free people as subjects when it comes to gun ownership.
We may not have to worry about a law like this in the United States, though I could easily imagine any of the Democrats running for president endorsing the idea. We must be concerned about politicians here at home who are intent on turning our rights into privileges that can be regulated away to nothingness, as well as the many voters eager to support these politicians who promise public safety at the expense of individual liberty. The 2020 election is going to involve many issues, but the most important one to me is whether or not our right to keep and bear arms remains a real right of the people, not a state-sanctioned and licensed activity of a privileged few as it is in India.