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There are several loopholes in Arms Act 1962: Binalakshmi Nepram

There are several loopholes in Arms Act 1962: Binalakshmi Nepram

Gun control: Can India draw any lessons from the Connecticut shooting incident?

The recent massacre of children and their teachers at a Newtown, Connecticut, school saw the debate on gun law resume in the United States where more than 270 million guns are in public hands. India, incidentally, has the second largest number of guns (46 million) in public hands in the world. So, can India draw any lessons from the Connecticut shooting incident and should it enforce tighter gun control? Binalakshmi Nepram, secretary general of Control Arms Foundation of India, shared her perspective on this matter with IBNLive readers.

Q. Will individual ownership of guns spell greater security...specially for women? Asked by: Priya

A. Arming women in India is not going to make us feel safer. Research shows that the chances of you or your loved one being shot dead is 12 times more when you have a gun. Individual gun ownership for women and men hence cannot be solution to safety and security in India. Deep rooted ways of treating women in our country needs change.Also ensure that the police and law enforcing authorities do their job properly to ensure that people who have access to legal and illegal guns both do not use it to commit the right violations of others who do not have weapons. 12 Indians are shot dead everyday as we speak, 5000 Indians a year and we still have not woken up to this!

Q. What should the government do? Asked by: Raghu

A. Government of India should deal with rising gun violence in India in two ways (1)To deal within the country the issue of rising armed violence by ensuring that poverty is reduced as this caused armed violence where weapons are misused; crack down on illegal arms manufacturing units and ensure strong and longer punishment for those caught with illegal arms or misuse of arms and (2)As many of the sophisticated arms which are flooding India are from foreign countries, India must work with international organisations like United Nations ongoing negotiation on Arms Trade Treaty to ensure accountability and responsibility of countries whose weapons have been found in India.

Q. Can India draw any lessons from the Connecticut shooting incident? Asked by: Isha

A. The Connecticut shooting reminds us in India of the first ever school shooting that was reported in 2007 at Euro International School shooting in Gurgaon where a student brought his father's pistol and shot his classmate dead. Luckily in India assault rifles which can fire multiple rounds are not allowed to be carried by civilians which is not case in USA. However, there are more than 40 million firearms in India which can be misused in our public places which crowds gather. If stringent actions are not taken up, we might turn the USA way. We should wake up, push the govt to take actions before its loo late.

Q. When it is a numbers game, India is always a contender due to our huge population. But I agree to the fact that there should not be a gun in any hand that is not supposed to have it. You have instances where desi guns are used to kill people. How effective do you think it will be to have a stricter gun control law? Asked by: Karthik

A. India's gun laws are strict; its based on colonial arms act of 1878. However, there are several loopholes in latest Arms Act 1962 which we have in the country which are exploited and this needs to be addressed. Desi guns also called Kattas are misused in committing acts of crime, however, there are many sophisticated illegal arms that have also flooded India too.
first published:December 19, 2012, 16:30 IST