Gun Rights

Indian Women's New Toy: Guns Not Boys

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I have just returned from India where it is always two steps forward and one step backward for liberty. But in the

Shabana

forward direction is this story from the Times of India:

Giving more power to women to defend themselves and as a tribute to December 2012 gangrape victim Nirbhaya [meaning, fearless], the Indian Ordnance Factory, Kanpur, has manufactured Nirbheek, a .32 bore light weight revolver, India's first firearm designed for women.

Priced at Rs.1,22,360, Nirbheek was launched on January 6 and has already received around 80 formal enquiries and over 20 bookings. "At least 80% bookings are from women licensees," says Abdul Hameed, general manager of IOF. Described by arms experts as an Indian hybrid of a Webley & Scott and Smith & Wesson, for its simple mechanism and light frame, it is the smallest revolver made in India — an ideal to fit a purse or a small handbag.

Rs. 1,22,360 works out to about $2,000 — not exactly chump change even in America let alone in a country where average per capita income (adjusted for purchasing power parity) is about $3,650. Hence, it is unlikely that too many women of Nirbhaya's social standing — her father was a loader for an airline company — will rush to the gun store to arm themselves.

But, odds are, gun prices will fall far faster than the country's abysmal court system will start delivering justice to rape victims. After all, India is a country where until recently the police subjected victims to the degrading two-finger test to determine their level of sexual activity (because, you know, more sexually women can't be raped) — and where the wheels of the newly-minted fast-track rape courts grind even more slowly than the snail-paced regular courts.

Private gun ownership might be the only viable option for women in countries whose justice system fails to protect them. So when anti-gun-nuts run NRA out of U.S., maybe it can set up shop in India. All it'll need to popularize its cause is get a Bollywood actress to vanquish her attacker with her shiny Nirbheek on screen. For Thom Hartmann, NRA is a terrorist organization. But, as they say, one (wo)man's terrorist is another (wo)man's hero.

H/T Neera Badhwar