Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Right to bear arms


Guns have been so fetishized and derided in our politically correct and increasingly suburbanized culture that they have transformed into this huge monster that clouds what firearms really are and always have been
To rural folks who grew up with guns in their house, firearms are just a way of life. You learn what they are, how to use them safely, and what not to use them — for ever.
They are, in fact, a tool. A dangerous tool to be sure but no more than a circular saw or a chainsaw.
Most Americans don't appreciate the right to bear arms. The increasing tendency to look at the nanny state to do everything for them has become a bad habit. While it is the job of government to protect a citizen from violence, it would be foolish to give up your own right to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property. Increasing dilution of the gun-right laws should be a concern for all Americans.

I live in a virtual police state where owning a gun is almost impossible unless you happen to have an old license. Freedom is most appreciated in places where it is missing. Owning a gun in India is only possible for the privileged few who are politicians , have connections with them, or can afford to dole out huge bribes for the license.

Abhijeet Singh whose web-site is an excellent resource on gun ownership laws in India talks about the history of Indian law.

India became independent in 1947, but it still took 12 years before this act was finally repealed. In 1959 the British era Indian Arms Act, 1878 (11 of 1878.) was finally consigned to history and a new act, the Arms Act, 1959 was enacted. This was later supplemented by the Arms Rules, 1962. Unfortunately this new legislation was also formulated based on the Indian Government's innate distrust its own citizens. Though somewhat better than the British act, this legislation gave vast arbitrary powers to the "Licensing Authorities", in effect ensuring that it is often difficult and sometimes impossible for an ordinary law abiding Indian citizen to procure an arms license.
He goes on and describes the current scenario.

This changed towards the mid to late 1980s, when the Government, citing domestic insurgency as the reason, put a complete stop to all small arms imports. The fact that there is no documented evidence of any terrorists ever having used licensed weapons to commit an act of terror on Indian soil seems to be of no consequence to our Government. The prices of (legal & licensed) imported weapons have been on an upward spiral ever since - beating the share market and gold in terms of pure return on investment.
Abhijeet's blog also mentions a news report where people used rocks to fight the terrorists during the Mumbai terror attack . Can you imagine that? They actually threw rocks to protect the Jewish center which was the terrorist's target. The terrorists shot back with AK-47's and threw grenades at them. The police which is good only for extortion was missing. Finally 195 people were killed and many more seriously injured.

Image courtesy Oleg Volk -

I believe in what Ayn Rand said:

The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative.

If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.

“The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness.