A Comparison of the Gun Laws of the USA and India
India and the USA are the world two biggest democracies. Ownership of arms is allowed in both the countries but the laws that govern ownership are different. The first difference is that in India all laws relating to weapons and arms are enacted by the Indian parliament and applicable to all states of the union. No state can enact a separate arms law. Thus in India the Indian Arms act 1872 as amended in 1959 and 2010 is the law that governs ownership, usage and licences for guns and is applicable to all the states. State courts and law enforcement agencies can only implement the act and state legislatures cannot amend it.
In contrast apart from the second amendment which is part of the constitution of the USA all states can frame their own laws. Thus the laws vary from state to state.44 states have a provision in their state constitutions similar to the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The states of California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York have their own exceptions. Regulating guns is part of state policy.
One overriding principle that governs the entire United States is the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment that allows all Americans to carry weapons as a constitutional right. In India there is no such right mentioned in the constitution, but again the constitution does not at any stage debar an Indian citizen from carrying arms. Thus inter alia all Indian Citizens have the right to own and carry weapons.
In India ownership of guns is restricted by the arms act which enjoins all Indian citizens to obtain a licence to own any hand gun. In the United States by contrast there are no restrictions to owning guns and all United States citizens can own and carry guns. In India the arms act specifically restricts the issue of licences for automatic weapons and SLR rifles. No Indian citizen can also own any gun which is termed a ‘prohibited bore’ like the .38 and .45 which are weapons used by the police and military.
In the USA there are no restrictions of any type on the bore and calibre of weapon and a US citizen can own any type of guns from the self loading Rifles to the automatic pistols (banned in India). But the restrictive nature of the law in India has not served its purpose and there are over 40 million unlicensed guns in India.
The freedom to own guns in the USA has led to 325 million guns floating all over the USA. Thus a vast arsenal is in existence that would shame an entire army.