Living on a gunpoint: How India fares against US

New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 17, 2018, 03.31 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Others )

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According to World Atlas, United States has the highest gun ownership rate with about 101 guns per hundred Americans, followed by Serbia at 58.21 guns per 100 people and Yemen with a rate of 54.8 per 100 people. 

New York, for the first time in 25 years, reported zero shootings throughout the city's five boroughs on the weekend of October 12 through October 14. 

Here is a look at the gun ownership laws in India and New York:

Gun laws in India and New York

New York City has separate gun laws where one is required to have a licence for both long guns and handguns. These laws are regarded as very restrictive, meaning, that the issuance of a licence is up to the issuing officer. Applications  for a pistol permit are filed at the police or sheriff’s department and can take 4-6 months for approval.

On the other hand, in India, gun laws in India are quite strict. Getting a gun licence in India is a difficult task that can take years.

The Arms Act which was first formulated in 1959 and has undergone multiple changes after allowing Indians to own guns for three primary reasons: 

1. Self-defense
2. Professional sport
3. Crop protection 

To obtain a gun, an individual needs to first procure a licence. Licences are issued state-wise; it’s near impossible to obtain a central licence that allows a citizen to carry a gun legally in more than one state. A form is to be filled after which documents need to be submitted. The licencing authority then calls upon the police to conduct background checks, as per National Association for Gun Rights India.

The Indian Ordinance Factory is the only legal manufacturer of arms in India, and all purchases are to be made from weapons it has produced. 

Gun ownership in India and New York 

Gun culture is deeply embedded in American society. The right to own and carry firearms is protected by the second amendment to the US constitution. 

People in a third of households own a weapon. The US holds the world record of an estimated 270 to 310 million guns -- an average of one per person. Around 30,000 people die by firearms – including suicide – every year in America. 

In India, Uttar Pradesh topped the list of states to have the maximum number of gun licences at a colossal 12.77 lakh, followed by Jammu and Kashmir with 3.69 people with a gun licence, PTI reported. 

Delhi has 38,754 licenced gun holders, Maharashtra with 84,050, Punjab, which witnessed terrorism in 1980s and 1990s, has 3,59,349 active gun licences and Karnataka with 1,13,631 licences.

According to the statistics released by the home ministry, the country has a total of 33,69,444 active gun licences as on December 31, 2016.

On Tuesday, the Delhi Police registered a complaint against a former BSP MP's son under the Arms Act and said that he would be arrested soon after he was seen brandishing a gun outside a five-star hotel. 

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, gun-related deaths increased from 3,063 to 3,655 between 2010 and 2014. There were 10 times that number in 2013 in the United States.

But only 14 per cent of the victims in 2014 in India were killed by licenced guns. The rest were killed by illegal weapons, largely prevalent in the hinterlands.

According to World Atlas, United States has the highest gun ownership rate with about 101 guns per hundred Americans, followed by Serbia at 58.21 guns per 100 people and Yemen with a rate of 54.8 per 100 people.