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Civilians with firearms: India ranks 2nd in world

Last updated on: August 29, 2007 21:56 IST
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This news may come shocking. A report released by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies says India is the second most heavily armed country in the world. The United States comes first. 

With an estimated 46 million firearms outside law-enforcement agencies and the military, India has the world's second-largest civilian gun arsenal. But this represents  just four guns per 100 people.

The United States has 90 guns for every 100 citizens, making it the most heavily armed society in the world. China, third with 40 million privately held guns, has 3 firearms per 100 people. Pakistan has 12 firearms per 100 people, while Iran has five.

In most of the world, the state is not the primary holder of guns; civilians are. The survey also plucks holes in the notion that Latin America and Africa are the world's most dangerous places with massive accumulation of firearms, says the Small Arms Survey 2007.   


In many cases, state-owned weapons are not the most likely to be used. Though research on the relative dangers of civilian and military small arms still requires systematic investigation, civilian-owned weapons appear increasingly prominent in global small arms phenomena, the report says.

Americans own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms, it says. At least 4.5 million of the 8 million guns manufactured each year are purchased by Americans, the report says.

The report also throws light at some shocking figures: There is roughly one firearm every seven people worldwide. And Uncle Sam is the main culprit. If the US figures are dropped, the count drops to one firearm per 10. 

On per capita basis, Yemen has the second most heavily armed citizenry behind the United States, with 61 guns per 100 people, followed by Finland with 56, Switzerland with 46, Iraq with 39 and Serbia with 38. With 30 guns, France, Canada, Sweden, Austria and Germany are next.

Nigeria, which is perceived as a violent torn country, has just one gun per 100 people.

"Firearms are very unevenly distributed round the world. The image we have of certain regions such as Africa or Latin America being flooded with weapons -- these images are certainly misleading," Small Arms Survey director Keith Krause said.

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