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Surprising Science

More Indian Women Are Applying For Gun Permits

The recent gang-rape and subsequent death of a Delhi woman has highlighted not only the problem of public safety, but the solutions some are seeking to protect themselves.

What’s the Latest Development?

The Delhi police department has received more gun permit applications from women in the three weeks since the December 16 gang rape and subsequent death of a female bus passenger than they did in all of 2011. In addition, according to one officer, they are receiving inquiries from working women, students, and even the students’ parents. Pro-gun groups say they too have seen a surge in questions about how to get a license. A spokesperson from the National Association of Gun Rights India (NAGRI) told Indian media, “The fact that even parents are ready to hand over weapons to their daughters shows they are living in fear.”

What’s the Big Idea?

India is second only to the United States in total number of civilian-owned firearms — the vast majority obtained illegally due to strict gun control laws — yet per-capita ownership and the number of gun-related crimes are low. In addition to the increased interest in guns, more women are purchasing other forms of protection, including pepper spray and Tasers. However, NAGRI secretary-general Rakshit Sharma said they deserve better: “Pepper spray is not going to work if the wind is in the wrong direction…[W]hen a common citizen applies for a [gun] license, he is almost treated like a criminal.”

Jan S. /


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