Gun rights movement in India underscores important point PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 09 February 2010 09:28

By Kurt Hofmann
St. Louis Examiner
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A recent Washington Post article notes a nascent gun rights advocacy movement in India.

In the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian gun owners are coming out of the shadows for the first time to mobilize, U.S.-style, against proposed new curbs on bearing arms.

Then again, "nascent" is perhaps not an accurate characterization of gun rights advocacy in India.  Gandhi himself, after all, famously said that:

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.

Still, though, the current movement is relatively new, with the National Association for Gun Rights India having held its first ever meeting just last month.  There would seem to be a couple motivations behind the new interest in gun rights.  First, the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November, 2008, where the slow government response, coupled with draconian gun laws effectively eliminating effective self-defense on the part of private citizens caught in the attack, guaranteed the terrorists a rich harvest of victims.  To make matters worse, the Indian government is now considering making the already onerous gun laws yet more draconian (pdf file).

Some readers might be wondering by now what the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner is doing discussing gun politics in India.  Fair enough.  The reason for that is that a growing number of Indians have come to realize that even without Constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms, they still have that right.

That's a lesson that Americans can ill afford to ignore.  We, as gun rights advocates, refer to the right to keep and bear arms as a Constitutional right--which is entirely correct, as far as it goes.  What we must not lose sight of, however, is that the Constitution merely guarantees that right--it does not grant it--indeed, rights cannot be "granted" by any government document, only privileges can.

The right to keep and bear arms is ours not because we are Americans, but because we are human, and self-defense (and the means thereof) is a human right--well, unless you ask the U.N., or the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Then again, if you're asking what your rights are, you're doing it wrong.


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