Woman are the fastest growing demographics for firearm sales in the United States and more are getting their carry permits every day. It’s nice to see the United States doesn’t hold a monopoly on armed women, women in India are arming themselves as well:
When Dr Harveen Kaur Sidhu travels from her home in an upmarket neighbourhood of the north-western Indian city of Chandigarh, she always slips her lightweight .22 revolver in her bag. The gun is a new purchase – Sidhu got her licence only a year ago – but now the 33-year-old dentist won’t travel without it.
“I don’t have faith in the police to protect me. There are so many attacks on women these days. It’s everybody’s right to defend themselves. I think all women who are vulnerable should be carrying guns,” Sidhu said. She is not alone. A growing number of well-off, educated Indian women are turning to firearms for protection.
The trend is part of a broader growth of gun culture in the land once known for the non-violent principles of Mahatma Gandhi.
Stories like this put a smile on my face. Gun control advocates will obviously take that quote, twist it, and use it as irrefutable proof that I support women being attacked to push my agenda but that’s entirely false. The reason stories like this make me smile is because there are now more people out there who are armed and thus the risk involved in perpetrating violent crime has increased.
Robert Heinlein once wrote, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” Perpetrating a crime, like anything else, is done after determining the risks compared to the rewards and finding the rewards worth the risk. When a mugger robs somebody on the street that mugger had determined the act of armed robbery was worth the risk of the victim defending him or herself. When you increase the number of armed individuals you also increase the risk of perpetrating a crime. As the risks associating with perpetrating a crime increases the number of crimes committed decreases.
Another part of this story I want to address is the following:
There are estimated to be 40m guns in India, the second highest number in the world after the US. Licences are hard to obtain and most are illegal weapons, many manufactured in backstreet workshops. Ownership levels per capita remain low – three guns for every 100 people in India – but there is strong anecdotal evidence that middle-class interest in firearms is rising fast.
Many who promote gun rights are careful to clarify they only mean for law-abiding citizens. Paragraphs like the above make them squirm because they see so many people arming themselves illegally yet want to support those peoples’ actions. I’ve mostly given up tossing the “law-abiding citizen” caveat on my statements regarding gun rights. The bottom line is states often place numerous restrictions between individuals and their right of self-defense meaning the only way one can defend themselves is unlawfully. For example, the paragraph above states that a majority of firearms in India are illegally owned. Illegal by what regards? The state’s regards.
To quote Martin Luther King Jr., “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” Laws prohibiting individuals from exercising their right of self-defense are unjust and should not be obeyed. When a woman in India arms herself against the wishes of the state she should be cheered. According to the state she may be unlawful but according to any decent person she is performing a just act.