After Gagan Narang’s final 10 meter Air Rifle shot in the London Olympics, Indians cheered as the Olympic medals tally for Indian athletes had now opened up. Immediately, the central and state governments started showering huge amounts of money over him for his success as an expert shooter. Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra are two well known Indian names who are known for their ability to use guns. It is certainly an amazing feat for both of them, not only because they have won medals for India in international competitions, but also because they have done so even though a majority of Indians are Hoplophobes.
A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. While fear itself isn’t necessarily an irrational feeling, an irrational, long-term fear is a phobia. It is a paradox that people in general claim to believe in the right to self-defense — that every person is free to defend himself against any threat to his life — yet, those same people support gun control and feel good about it. Indian gun control laws are extremely stringent; Indians in general are Hoplophobes. Yet, there are gun experts like Gagan Narang or Abhinav Bindra who win shooting competitions. It should be noted that both of these aces have been using guns since their childhood and neither of them have ever got into a gun fight or an accident.
The supporters of gun control often presume that guns will make a situation extremely dangerous and that holding a gun will cause the initiation of a killing spree. People often oppose any idea that is in favor of common people holding guns. If one suggests that girls and women will be safer if they are allowed to use guns for their own protection, the Hoplophobes will comment that involving guns will turn a seemingly not-so-dangerous situation of eve teasing into one where someone is killed. However, that isn’t likely to happen in a real scenario. If a hooligan is stalking a girl traveling on a bus or train and he is planning to sexually assault her or rape her, she has the right to defend herself. And if she has a gun, she is in a better position to defend herself. Even an indication by her that she holds a gun and is ready to defend herself will very likely force the hoodlum to back off. A common thug will not be looking for a gun spree or a shooting competition, and nobody likes to get into mortal combat. Even if a gang of goons try to sexually assault a girl travelling on a train, if she has a gun, she has a better chance to defend herself as she will be in a more powerful position against them.
However, the Hoplophobes do not agree with this. They claim that if common people are allowed to hold guns, they will be in more danger, because the criminals will also have guns, and so any situation will become more drastic and gruesome. They fail to notice that criminals do not care for gun control laws, they will find a way to acquire guns and use them anyway. The gang of goons that robbed the train in West Bengal weren’t looking for a girl to rape; rather, they intended to rob the train. As the girl tried to resist, she was gang raped. It is unlikely that there was no one on the train who would have been willing to help the girl against the goons, but the other passengers were all forced to watch the rape in silence because the gang of robbers had guns, but they did not. The guard and driver of the train were beaten and the robbers stole from the passengers. It is implausible to expect such a robbery to occur on a train where ordinary travelers are expected to hold guns.
The Hoplophobes feel that gun control laws are designed to reduce the rate of gun crime. It’s funny, because gun control laws actually make it illegal for a “law-abiding citizen” to have a gun, a powerful tool for defending oneself. Obviously, a “law-abiding citizen” isn’t the cause of crimes, so such laws won’t reduce the rate of crime. On the other hand, the criminals are criminals, so they will actively disobey gun control laws. Gun control laws do not work to decrease the crime rate, instead they help the criminals — by disarming their victims — and in doing so, increase the crime rate.
With a concealed — or openly carried — weapon, individuals will be able to defend themselves. It is not usually necessary to use a gun; even holding it will deter the criminals and it will significantly reduce the crime rate. Liberals don’t agree with these arguments, they claim that if guns are allowed, people will start killing each other at the slightest provocation. The thing is, people do not live to kill each other. Imagine the most rash and aggressive person in your circle of family and friends, or the angriest person you have ever met. If he was allowed to carry a gun, whom would he kill? Would he kill his family members, friends, or strangers walking on the street? How many times has he stabbed others with a kitchen knife in anger?
The argument that common people are sociopaths who are looking to kill other people, and all they are waiting for is a licensed legal gun to kill each other, is irrational. Yet, the Hoplophobes hold the false idea that stringent gun control laws will reduce crime rates. John R. Lott wrote the most comprehensive and conclusive research to date on the specific topic of the effects of Concealed Carry laws on violent crime and firearm accidents: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws
The list of countries by gun ownership rate on Wikipedia suggests that the countries with fewer restrictions against citizens protecting themselves against criminals are more civilized and developed than those which forbid the citizens from protecting themselves.
The Hoplophobes may stoop so low as to attack ethnicity with racist premises by claiming that Indians are not responsible enough to be trusted with guns. Based on my own experience of my native village, even the villagers with just a basic, formal education are responsible and intelligent enough to hold safety-guns; in fact, most of them hold unlicensed illegal guns, but they aren’t violent criminals. The question is: what do these Hoplophobes mean by saying that Americans can have gun rights but Indians cannot because “Indians are more emotional, illiterate, blah blah”?
Do they mean to say that Indians have lower IQs than Americans? Or, do they consider Indians genetically inferior to Americans: are the Hoplophobes racists? According to the Indian Arms Act of 1878, only British people were allowed to hold guns in India, and it was made illegal for Indians to own a gun. So, do these Hoplophobes want to say that “Dogs and Indians not allowed to hold guns“?
Both Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang have practiced shooting since their childhood. They not only developed the skill to use guns, they also developed the will to use them responsibly. Guns cannot turn people into criminals, but guns can give an individual the ability to defend him or herself against the criminals.