Monday, January 21, 2013

US and her gun laws – what is freedom? Right to live a life without fear, or to carry military type guns?

US Marine firing an AK 47 assult rifle - one of the most popular guns in history

US sometime surprise me. A country which always talks about human rights and civil liberties find itself helpless in the face of escalating gun violence. At a time, when they should deliberate about fiscal problems, loss of manufacturing bases, way out from Afghanistan etc civil society and government are consuming the precious time in arguing about controlling gun violence.

Is it a basic requirement?

First of all, I am failing to understand why US citizens need assault guns in the first place? Unlike water, food, shelter, cloths, medicines etc... guns are not a primary necessity. They are not living in environments like Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia etc...  Where warlords decide when some has to die.

If it is essential for a citizen to carry assault rifles, to ensure his security, then what is the need of state? Why should I pay taxes, if state can’t assure my safety?

Answer to gun violence is simple – ban it. In a modern society common citizen has nothing to do with military type assault rifles. If someone still needs to carry a gun, a lot of other guns having less fire power are available. Does a strict background check on would be gun owners, issue license only after they were able to convince the authorities about the threats they face.

Proposed solutions - Can I call them solutions?

Most of the solutions proposed by various US outfits to control gun violence are ridiculous. One of them was training teachers and other school staff in handling guns. Let me ask, what’s the primary responsibility of a teacher; to teach or get trained in assault rifles and fighting with invaders?

There are talks about the role of mental health professionals. But, who knows when a perfectly normal man will break down and that second of rage thrust all his bullets in to the body of innocent ones?

Another suggestion was posting security guards in schools. I am yet to figure out how this will work? If government allows citizens to buy guns - just like housemaid buy potato from market – then I don’t think one or two security guards can do much. Now anyone can carry guns to school premises – this person is unknown to the security guard but the invader know whom to kill first. Can posting a security guard stop incidents like Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, where gun man shot down 20 schools kids and 6 adults? Well, I have serious doubts...

Carrying assult rifles

Sandy Hook gunman carried three guns (fourth left in his car), one Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns - Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm. AR-15 is a civilian version of famous M-16 used by US military. AR-15 is capable of firing at a rate of 45rounds/minute in semi-automatic mode and 800rounds/ minute in fully automatic mode. In his semi automatic mode, with a typical 30 round magazine, he was capable of releasing atleast 30 bullets to the body of people in front of him. Just remember he also carried a Glock and Sig Sauer 9 mm!!!
In 2007 Virginia tech massacre 32 people killed and 17 wounded; 2009 Binghamton shootings killed 14 and wounded 4; 2012 Aurora theatre shootings killed 12 and injured another 58; number was 15 dead and 21 injured in Columbine high school massacre. If proper gun controls are not in place this list will not end here...

2nd amendment to US constitution

Freedom for carrying guns is coming from 2nd amendment to US constitution; which says, ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’. Unfortunately, current backers of 2nd amendment forget to compare the circumstances existed in 1791 (when Bill of Rights was adopted and ratified) and now.

Gun laws in India

Gun laws are something which US can and should learn from others. For e.g. In India according to Arms Act 1959; no one can acquire, possess, or carry any firearm or ammunition without licence, that also after proving threats to life. He/ She should atleast 21 years old, should not be convicted for an offence involving violence for previous five years; maximum number of fire arms/ person is limited to three. There are more restrictions, calibres like 9mm, .45 ACP, .303 British etc are prohibited; semiautomatic rifles, short barrel shotguns, automatic etc... are not allowed for civilians.


It’s the time for US to change her gun laws, which is indeed a herculean task considering the heavy influence of gun lovers. But there are some tasks which must be pushed through, even in the face of all difficulties. Gun culture threatens the freedom of others to lead a fearless life... As David Frum wrote in his CNN article, ‘That campaign should be led from outside the political system, by people who have suffered loss and grief from gun violence’.

It’s not about banning guns completely, but automatic and semi-automatic should go out of public’s hand.


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