Home > Indian Economy, Politics, Social Trends, USA, Yumm-Rika > Indians are the 2nd largest gun owners in the world

Indians are the 2nd largest gun owners in the world


After USA, India ranks second on number of gun owners. US also has the highest number of prisoners and policemen. India – the lowest.

With more than 20 millions gun ... India is not the muder capital of the world.

With more than 4 crores (40 millions) gun, why is India is not the murder capital of the world.

Tamanchas (also known as desi katta, a locally made gun) are … illegal and indigenous weapons that are … Priced anywhere between Rs500 and Rs1,000, depending on the quality, … can be bought easily in the grey markets in UP, Delhi and Mumbai …

Tamancha, panchfera (that fires five bullets), desi rifle, revolver—all are available locally for a fraction of the price of the real thing. Their clients seek them out through special agents and they are paid money in advance … These were craftsmen whose forefathers had crafted daggers and firearms for the Syeds, Lodis, Pathans and Moghuls, and knew all there is to know about smelting, welding and forging weaponry.

The villagers are … buyers of firearms in this region. Everyone here who must guard his crops and share in irrigation waters and travel to cities every now and then carrying cash, sports a tamancha. And having a gun under your pillow is considered a style statement in villages.

Most criminal acts, according to the police in western UP, are committed with this weapon. In case of police raids and during chase, it is easy to abandon this unlicensed weapon since it cannot be traced back to the owner. Occasionally, the police may also procure kattas or tamanchas from these factories. These are then “planted” during raids.

Meerut Kotwali, Sohrab Gate, Islamabad, Sardhana, Ganeshpur, Khurja, Dadri, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Budhana, Shamli and Saharanpur areas are said to have thriving factories. In 2008, the police apprehended 2,213 people in Meerut, 3,369 in Ghaziabad, 1,700 in Bulandshahar, 2,165 in Gautam Buddha Nagar, 592 in Baghpat, 1,571 in Saharanpur and 1,604 in Muzaffarnagar for keeping illegal arms.

Six tamanchas could be produced, … in under 2 hours in his factory. He had learnt the art some 25 years ago and was now so experienced in crafting firearms that given a sample, he could create a copy of any sort of gun within two weeks.

It may be a crime in the eyes of some, masterji said philosophically, but he considered himself an honourable man who was bringing up a family on his hard-earned wages. (via Uttar Pradesh: the land of la tamancha – Economy and Politics – livemint.com).

Gun proliferation in India, now?

Gun proliferation in India, now?

Crime theory

Some very interesting points come out from these reports.

  1. These guns cost Rs.1000-1500 (US$20-US$30). At these costs, rampant criminalization of Indian population is very possible – and probable. So, why has that not happened?
  2. Most of these gun smiths are Muslims – and if the myth of the ‘oppressed Indian Muslim’ was true, then these guns would have been used for a mayhem, terror and crime.
  3. Recent estimates show that India is the second largest gun owning population in the world- with 4.6 crores (46 million) guns.
  4. One report states that UP alone has 900,000 licensed fire arm holders. Another report estimates more than 3 lakh illegal firearms in New Delhi alone. Estimates of the national stock of guns in the US varies between 40 million to 50 million households which own 200 million guns.
  5. Interestingly, UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were at the heart of the British Raj – and the land grab from the peasants to the zamindars first happened here – especially, after 1857. Is that the reason for the lawlessness in this region?
  6. This was also the theatre of the 1857 War by Indians against the British Raj, which raged on for about 4-5 years. Obviously, guns were not imported – but produced locally. Were these the gunsmiths that had supplied the Indian armies with guns and munitions?

So, how come India has lowest prison population, low-police-to-population ratios and low-to-average crime rates?


  1. lvs
    January 6, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Certainly not on a per capita basis I am sure?

    The numbers especially in Delhi look highly exaggerated to me. Your reason for lawlessness in the zamindar led regions is very interesting.

  2. January 6, 2009 at 9:02 am

    1. The numbers of guns is the absolute and total for the whole country.
    2. The source of these gun ownership figures is linked. If you click on the link you will get the methodology and the logic for this estimate.
    3. India has the lowest prison population and the lowest-police-to-population ratio in the world. This gun ownership data also shows that, in spite of such wide ownership of guns, crime rates in India are still in the low-to-average range.

    This makes India a unique society in the world – where all the three indices are low.

  1. February 7, 2009 at 11:14 am
  2. February 8, 2009 at 4:55 pm
  3. July 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm
  4. August 13, 2010 at 8:14 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: