history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.* It still hangs on in the Indian government, and some people are working to change that.
In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian gun owners are coming out of the shadows for the first time to mobilize, U.S.-style, against proposed new curbs on bearing arms.
When gunmen attacked 10 sites in Mumbai in November 2008, including two five-star hotels and a train station, Mumbai resident Kumar Verma sat at home glued to the television, feeling outraged and unsafe.
Before the end of December, Verma and his friends had applied for gun licenses. He read up on India's gun laws and joined the Web forum Indians for Guns. When he got his license seven months later, he bought a black, secondhand, snub-nose Smith & Wesson revolver with a walnut grip.
"I feel safe wearing it in my ankle holster every day," said Verma, 27, who runs a family business selling fire-protection systems. "I have a right to self-protection, because random street crime and terrorism have increased. The police cannot be there for everybody all the time. Now I am a believer in the right to keep and bear arms."
India currently seems to have the kind of bullshit victim disarmament laws Bloomberg and the Brady group would like to force on us.
Although India's 1959 Arms Act gives citizens the legal right to own and carry guns, it is not a right enshrined in the country's constitution. Getting a license is a cumbersome process, and guns cannot be bought over the counter -- requirements that gun owners describe as hangovers from the colonial past, when the British rulers disarmed their Indian subjects to head off rebellion.
In December, the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed several amendments to the Arms Act that would make it even harder to acquire a gun license, restrict the number of people eligible for nationwide licenses and curtail the amount of ammunition a gun owner can amass.
Ah, yes, face a terrorist attack and then pretend to deal with it by working to disarm the honest citizens. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? So will the reaction:
"We are outraged. We are not murderers. Instead of going after real criminals, the government is indulging in window dressing by bringing in gun control laws that target law-abiding citizens who have licensed guns," said Abhijeet Singh, 37, a software engineer who started Indians for Guns and is the coordinator of the new gun rights association.
"We want to remove the stigma on licensed gun owners," Singh said. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 87 percent of murders by firearms in India in 2007 involved illegally held guns.
I can't remember if it was Kevin or someone else who said "Gun control laws are what politicians do instead of actually doing something." These folks need to remember that, and push it out there.
The reaction of the 'experts' will sound awfully familiar to you:
Indian security experts appear dismissive of the group's efforts. "There is no place for a gun rights movement in India," said Julius Ribeiro, a former police officer who comments on security issues. "That kind of debate may work in America, but it will not work here, because laws are misused and guns can easily fall into the wrong hands. It can get dangerous in India."
Standard translation: "You peasants have no need of arms, that's to be left to us minions of the state and experts. We of the State cannot trust you to own them." And I love the 'laws are misused' bit; does he mean the current 'disarmament by bureaucratic bullshit' described in the article? Just what the hell DOES he mean? And considering that the bad guys demonstratively have no problem getting arms, how would honest citizens having arms affect that?
Same arguments for disarming the citizens the hoplophobes and statists use here, and just as full of crap.
Mr. Verma, carry on; you're doing a good thing.
*It's one of those quotes that the hoplophobes really don't like people to remember.