Okay, let us talk about the elephant in the room.
46% of the total civilian population across the world who own a gun (handgun, rifle, etc.) is from the US. This is according to the Small Arms Survey of 2018.
Now, that shouldn’t be surprising if you are from the North part of India. I have lived half of my adult life in fear that I might get killed in some road rage case, where I bang my car against someone with an Uttar Pradesh (UP) licence plate, and he just pulls out a gun. I am not even kidding. But those were mostly illegal possession of arms of which I was worried about – or maybe possession of weapons by highly influential and powerful people. But back home, obtaining and carrying a gun is not that easy. The arms and ammunition regulations for civilians are not that relaxed.
Before I moved here, I had heard a lot about the US being relaxed with their gun laws, mostly in all of the states. Since I moved here, three mass shootings have occurred alone in Texas. Also, two of them happened just before a significant change in the Arms Act in the state of Texas. It said:
Starting Sept. 1, any handgun owner without a license can carry a gun, openly or concealed, for a full week after a state or federal disaster zone is declared. The change comes in response to pro-gun groups’ outcries that Texans couldn’t arm themselves when Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast in 2017.
I am terrified of killings. Who isn’t? But I can not even stand the conversation of people dying – in any way. From hearing news about the relaxed gun laws to hearing jokes about Texan cowboys carrying guns to seeing the sh*t getting real, I realized that this is perhaps the most challenging thing I will be getting used to after moving here.
Concealed and open guns can be carried and stored almost everywhere. And the law also protects the gun carrier on the pretext of self-defence. I was not okay with anything that is in place when it comes to having a gun. I am still not.
However, this, combined with the present-day COVID19 situation, made me learn a vital thing about the human psyche – our animal instinct. I wondered why is it essential to have a gun during disasters(concerning the recent law amendment in Texas)? During times like these, when you don’t have access to crucial requirement like food, the more powerful gets access to them, quickly. If you are armed, you can either hunt(or steal) for food or save yourself from the ‘hunters’. There are food shelters in India which are set up to help the needy during this pandemic lockdown. The resources are lesser than the mouths to be fed. People are fighting. Imagine them being armed.
The animal instinct in humans is far more prevalent than I ever thought. During this COVID19 pandemic, the sales of guns and arms have gone up by 40% to 50% in a month in most states of the US. It speaks of my unsaid fear. Preparing for a disaster means causing another disaster, is it?