The right to defend yourself? India says a tentative Yes:
India has launched a new handgun for women, named after a student who was gang-raped in Delhi in December 2012 and later died of her injuries. Officials say it will help women defend themselves, but critics say it’s an insult to the victim’s memory.
In the wacky U. S. of A., this premise would be utterly inverted: Washington doesn’t think anyone should have guns except government employees, Mexican drug-runners, any of several varieties of Muslims, and Hollywood bodyguards.
About the gun itself:
In his large office on Kanpur’s Kalpi Road, Abdul Hameed, the general manager of the state-run Indian Ordnance Factory, shows me Nirbheek, the factory’s tiniest gun.
“It’s small, it’s lightweight, it weighs only 500g [1.1lb], and it can easily fit into a lady’s purse.”
Hameed speaks enthusiastically about the .32-calibre revolver, praising the “special titanium alloy body, the pleasing-to-the-eye wooden handle”.
“The six-shot gun is easy to handle and it can hit its target accurately up to 15m [50ft],” he explains, pointing out the word “Nirbheek” engraved on the barrel.
And about that name:
Nirbheek is a synonym of Nirbhaya — the nickname given by the Indian press to the Delhi rape victim, who could not be named under Indian laws. Both words mean “fearless” in Hindi.
The price is steep: ₹122,360 ($1990). Said one of the critics:
“In India, the annual income of most people is less than the cost of the gun. So to suggest that this gun will make women safer is bizarre.”
You have to wonder what she’d say if it were only two hundred bucks instead of two thousand.