Gun Ownership Skyrockets in India; 2nd to U.S.

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The era of Gandhi-like peaceful protests in India is over -- the Hindu nation is now second in gun ownership in the world.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Indians own about 40 million guns, second only to the United States and our roughly 300 million guns. reports that there are three guns for every 100 people in India compared to 89 guns for every 100 people in the U.S.

Experts say rising crime and rising income has led to the explosion of weapons.

"Having a gun 24/7 is a necessity," said gun owner Vikramjit Singh. "And an expensive weapon is a status symbol. You can't flash just any old gun around."

India has very strict gun laws, so 85% of the weapons in the nation are unregistered Saturday-night specials that are thought to be responsible for 90% of gun murders.

Indians feel more guns will make them safer, given that the country's police-to-population ratio is among the lowest in the world. Gun foes, though, believe that thinking is flawed.

"Are we not paying for the rising gun violence in India?" asks antigun activist Binalakshmi Nepram, secretary-general of Control Arms Foundation of India. "It is a wrong perception that one needs a gun for security."