Guns won't protect Indian women. Ask the US


What was going through Barack Obama's mind as a member of staff told him about the Sandy Hook shootings? In a dramatic photograph released by the White House last week, the President leans against the back of a sofa, arms folded and head bowed. It's a sombre moment: six adults and 20 children had just died in the massacre in Connecticut. No one could avoid shock on hearing the news, but the President must surely have been wondering how on earth to persuade millions of Americans to give up their delusional attachment to guns.

They think owning guns will make them safer. Some women in India seem to have come to the same conclusion following the gang rape and murder of a student on a bus, with reports that hundreds of women in Delhi have applied for gun licences. The numbers are low – 274 requests for licences and 1,200 inquiries since 18 December, two days after the attack – but it's a worrying trend. Far from protecting women, there's plenty of evidence that guns make them more vulnerable. In the US, one of the most highly armed nations on earth, many women die each year as a direct consequence of laws which allow individuals to own firearms.

I'm not just thinking about mass shootings like Sandy Hook, Columbine or Virginia Tech. These dreadful events make headlines around the world, but other forms of lethal violence are less widely reported. Take murder-suicides, for example, in which a perpetrator kills one or more people and then commits suicide; there are on average 12 of these incidents in the US each week, accounting for more than 1,300 deaths annually. Most adult victims are women killed by a current or former partner, and guns feature in around 90 per cent of incidents. "Domestic violence and guns make a deadly combination," observes a report from the Violence Policy Centre in Washington.

Here's another statistic that might make women in India think twice about applying for a firearms licence: American women who have guns in the home are almost three times more likely to be murdered than those who don't, according to a 2003 study. After Sandy Hook, an idiot from the National Rifle Association claimed that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. But what if the bad guy disarms a good woman? What if he isn't a stranger but someone she trusts who turns her own weapon against her?

President Obama knows this. But America's gun addiction isn't rational: it's actually responsible for much of the crime that people say they buy firearms to prevent. The Second Amendment enshrining the right to "keep and bear arms" is centuries out of date, encouraging individuals to take the law into their own hands. It's unnecessary in a modern state, which has a police force to protect citizens and arrest perpetrators. That's what's gone wrong in India, but the answer isn't more women acquiring guns.;

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...


Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?