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I am not a US citizen (but, would love to become one day). I grew up in a place (India) where guns are not easily accessible and I did not think about owning them for a long time. I was always told to stay away from trouble and I would be OK. I grew up thinking that the world is fair and if I don’t harm anyone, I wouldn’t be harmed. That worked out great for a while until the day it didn’t and I quickly realized that there are physically bigger people who do not always have the nicest of intentions . . .

I have been to the range many times, thought about buying a gun, but never went through with it. That all changed when the Sandy Hook shooting happened. Since then, I bought a Beretta PX4 storm and follow TTAG religiously and try to remember the many points that the authors here make in countering the anti-gun people I encounter every now and then.

We all know how important guns are historically in this nation and the rights conferred by the Constitution. I want to touch on a few points about guns, free speech and social justice in modern society. I believe the second amendment is a hedge against the other amendments including the first, but think the necessity of collecting that bet is slim. Free speech has certain limitations, like you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater when there is none.

Similarly, you cannot shoot into a crowd of people in a theater either. But, they both can happen. Hence, if one person shoots some people in a theater, the potential solutions run the gamut from complete abolishment of guns to restriction on types of guns that I can use in my own home. Extend this logic to the ‘fire in a theater’ scenario. Do we now say that I cannot yell “fire” to alert my family when my own house is on fire? Does that sound absurd? Welcome to the gun club (you are free to talk about it).

Being in Southern Louisiana for the last 7 years of my life has its ups and down. Baton Rouge had so much crime that I thought about moving to other states. But I soon realized that safety starts with personal responsibility and I wasn’t doing my part in ensuring that. So, I tooled up. But, it took a really long time just because I was afraid of my interpretation of federal and state gun laws and the ATF ignoring my request for information.

While having a gun is not a 100% guarantee, it gives a 5’7 160lb guy a chance against a 230lb thug. Speaking of chances, I find it contradictory that a lot of anti-gun folks I encountered believe there is gross injustice done to the underrepresented and the so-called helpless. They strive to achieve their perception of balance through socialist policies, yet fail to see how good guys with guns help out in a situation involving bad guys with guns especially in a gun free zone where people are always vulnerable. Guns level the playing field in dealing with unlawful and unwarranted force against someone with decisive and lethal force. This could be against an 80-year-old grandpa, a 16-year-old lesbian or a minority in a ‘wrong’ neighborhood. In short, guns enforce societal equality.

Not being a US citizen and born in India with practically no private gun ownership, I could add another perspective. All the people of Indian decent that I know of do not own a gun. Some of them are students, some work on a temporary visa and some are US citizens. Most of them are easily intimidated because of their inherent fear of not being able to defend for themself and their family. It is so obvious, yet they cannot bring themselves to owning a gun and it’s a shame. They truly believe that the cops will arrive in time to rescue them and try to avoid thinking of those situations. As a good friend of mine says, “they all can hope, but, I carry a Colt”.

Another rhetorical point often floated by anti-guns is how people escalate a situation when they have a gun. They fail to realize, again, that a gun is not the “one ring to rule them all,” something that compels a person to use it. Take away a gun and insert a knife/baseball bat. The individual still has to make the decision to either use force or not. Guns only make it easy and that’s not a bad thing. Unlike a baseball bat or a knife whose effectiveness primarily depends on the wielder’s ability to swing it or be a CQC specialist, a gun evens out a situation in its ability to rapidly deploy and dish out effective lethality.

When someone makes the decision to buy a gun or carry one on their person, they are not looking for trouble. They are being prepared for it. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that most of those people would in fact be very happy if they are left alone and not be troubled by a mugger and silently hopes that the big bulge on the side will be a deterrent rather than hope to be in a confrontation to kill a perp.

Finally, I do not support background checks as a matter of principle that if the government or LEOs cannot guarantee my safety – and the courts hold that view – my right to survival should not be infringed by anyone. This is also why I am against the so-called non-qualified people clause attributed to felons. I understand that there are people who are closer to savages than people, but if we trust them enough to release them back into society, they should also be able to defend themselves. If not, then they should never be out of a prison.

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  1. A fresh perspective! I enjoyed reading this well-written piece.
    I absolutely agree with the sentiment in the last sentence, but unfortunately America has a heavily privatized prison industry that caters to money before “justice”.

    • Ain’t THAT the truth? Why else would we have, by a good margin, the largest prison population on Earth – 5% of the planet’s population, nearly 25% of the planet’s population incarerated? We’re WORSE than other countries, RIGHT?

      “Prison Industry”? YOU THINK?

      We need to break this capitalist “justice” stranglehold before 50% of us are in the joint. For life and liberty. And the rest of us are paying for it.

      OKAY, you Austrian Capitalist stooges, GET IN MY EFFING FACE and TELL ME we don’t have a capitalist prison industry.

      Better YET, EFFERS, tell me that’s GOOD!

      • No one needs to get in your face, and I’m not sure who ever would. If someone tried to convince you that there is not a corporate prison system for private profit, that person is not an “Austrian Capitalist”, or at least, not a well-informed one. Most Austrian/libertarian stuff I read goes to great lengths to expose and decry the non-violent/victimless “crime” system and the gulag complex that goes with it.

        What you may be missing is understandable because of the propaganda term “privatization”. When something is “privatized” it doesn’t mean that private people run it and have to go to the free market for their customers. If that were the case, private prisons would shut down for lack of business. (They can’t force people into prison, or force people to pay for prisons, without a coercive government helping them).

        What it means is that the profits of a state-enabled enterprise go to private hands, while the losses most likely end up on the “people” via bailouts etc. These corporate entities could not exist without the government feeding them money and “customers” (i.e. prisoners, or if you prefer, the taxpayers that must pay for the prisons and police) , using public resources (police and bureaucracy) to create more and more “criminals”, and using propaganda channels to promote their programs (war on crime, war on drugs, war on illegal guns, etc.)

        TL;DR: “private” prisons are not “capitalist” per se; they are more accurately called “corporate” (creation of the coercive state) or “mercantilist” (partnership between the state and “private” enterprise). No Austrian I have ever read would defend them in anything like their current incarnation. Not sure where you have been reading, but we are probably on the same side, EFFER! 🙂

      • Not Me is entirely correct.
        I will add this though:
        The prison system we have is a coercive one (i.e. government run, tax funded). Therefore it is not private.
        The fact that some “private” companies get the contracts to warehouse prisoners doesn’t make the prison system private. It’s no more private that NASA or DOD, which heavily rely on civilian contractors. Few of those companies (prison, space, or military tech) could survive in a true free market, because they don’t provide a good service at a good price.

  2. Love that this TTAG contest is generating some content from all corners of the gun-owning community. Thanks for sharing, SM!

  3. I’d give this guy my vote for winner so far for the 2nd gun.

    Good perspective, and I absolutely agree with your last paragraph about background checks.

  4. “I was always told to stay away from trouble and I would be OK. I grew up thinking that the world is fair and if I don’t harm anyone, I wouldn’t be harmed. That worked out great for a while until the day it didn’t ”

    EXACTLY. Until it didn’t. The belief that because nothing bad has happened to one is proof that nothing ever will is termed Normalcy Bias. It’s not the worst mental aberration at all. Until the day it is. Sometimes it’s not so much a continuum as a switch that flips from off to on. You can never know.

    Thank you for your article, SM, one of the best here ever. I am glad you are in our country. Take care.

    • Sandy Hook makes a good example then, as they were under the influence of “It could never happen here.”

  5. The image with this post is great. We’re all reflexively afraid of those toothy carnivores, but there’s only one creature in that lineup that thinks you *deserve* what they’re going to do to you.

  6. Great article, SM. Thank you for contributing to the community. The more voices that are heard – from all corners – the greater our collective experience and wisdom.

    I am pretty sure I have never heard the phrase, “I tooled up” from an Indian. But I like it. Has a nice ring to it.

  7. Well said SM. If you don’t like BR, move over here to Denham Springs, I love it here.

    ” I understand that there are people who are closer to savages than people, but if we trust them enough to release them back into society, they should also be able to defend themselves. If not, then they should never be out of a prison.”

    I agree with your last sentence. If they are such a threat to society that they have to be prohibited from purchasing a modern firearm, why are they being released in the first place.

  8. 14 years and 20K and I will be searing in as a US Citizen next month, That is how long it has taken me.

    • @Ross. You did it legally. I regret the long time and expense while other people jump the line. You have the respect of many Americans.And then there are anchor babies and a multi million dollar business in maternity hotels on West coast and elsewhere. That wealthy Chinese and others want their children born in the USA speaks volumes about their belief in the future of the USA. I don’t condone this kind of surreptitious birth citizenship but it is as real as our porous southern border. Bottom line: whatever flaws the US has, it is much better than elsewhere. Congratulations, Ross. Welcome. Good shooting. To borrow from Lincoln, the USA still remains ” the world’s last best hope.”. Now, if only we can secure the Second Amendment and lessen the possibility of a police state…..

  9. Nice post, SM. You offer proof that intelligent immigrants can assimilate not merely the letter of the constitution, but the spirit of it and its grounding in human experience. Good luck in your American future. (And I would note that handguns are becoming much more common in India these days, especially among women, most typically in .22LR. Good. Self-defense is a human value that for too long has been crushed by the supposedly PC demands of leaders whose motivations truly relate to making the world safe for corruption, not peace.)

  10. From one transplant to Baton Rouge to another, (all tho from Pennsylvania) welcome! and welcome to the Armed Intelligentsia!

  11. I always enjoy reading about immigrants that learn to embrace the RKBA we enjoy in the US as well as other freedoms we enjoy.

    That said I’ve been to India. I enjoyed my interactions with most of the people I met there and think they are moving towards a more open and free society. From what I saw they unfortunately flirted to much with socialism after the UK left them to their own devices. Hence a lot of the corruption that seems to plague the government over there – not that we don’t have corruption in government in the US, but it appears to be on a different level.

    There is from my understanding an active gun owner culture there, but they will need time to gain traction.

    Just my opinion and observations.

  12. People of the Gun don’t want to lose that “right”. That’s why we always try to de-escalate when we can. Good story. Except for that last part. I have zero sympathy for predators that prey on my people.

    • I am of the same mind about the felons being able to exercise their rights after paying their debt to society. There are many felons that have never prayed on nor hurt people.

      I am a potencial felon because of merely possessing an item I found at my great grandpas after he died. Because of an unconstitutional federal law.

      There is a guy in my area who thought he was messaging with a 21yo model and was caught in a “sting” when he thought they are going to go on a date. The girl who started the massaging was 16 and parents found out and she blamed the guy and cops got involved. Guess who now has to register their address can get looked up online and probably gets hate mail and death treats for being a “sexual predator”. Should he not have a gun to protect himself or doses that sexual predator deserve what he gets?

  13. First of all, we need more people like this gentleman trying to become a citizen in this country. Secondly, this world is not fair. Thinking that the world will be fair and kind to you if you are fair and kind to it, is like thinking the Lion wont eat you, because you did not eat it.

  14. We need more immigrants like you!
    I wish we could trade one SM-type for one DiFi/Gloomberg-type. Hell, I’d give India 10 to 1…or 1000 to 1.

  15. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Like you, I am from India also and not a citizen yet. I have been here for just less than 4 years but I have come to understand the passion that gun owners feel about their RKBA. And I have come to embrace this whole-heartedly. My reason was just like most other people’s – the need to protect myself and my family. Though we live in a relatively safer neighborhood, crime doesn’t have an address. And with me being out for work related purposes most of the times, I felt my wife needed something more handy than a call to 911. Ended up purchasing my first handgun without any prior experience or guidance from anyone (I don’t have any family here and had very few friends then). Got an FNX-9. Watched a lot of youtube videos and articles about firearm safety before even buying any ammo. That is around when I discovered TTAG also. Have been a reader ever since.

    Then I heard – one is none and two is one. Ended up with a XDm 9 and before I knew, I was fully into it. We now own a few handguns, a couple custom ARs and a shotgun. All purchased within the last 1.5 years. My newest toy is the XDs 9 and absolutely love it.

    The more we have been around it, the more comfortable we have gotten. I remember how we never even loaded the magazine in our FNX. Now 3 handguns are always loaded and ready to go. And with it has come a sense of security and peace of mind, which I think is priceless. It was a huge leap for us, coming from a society where private ownership of firearm is extremely difficult. But I am glad we took the leap. I wish we had the RKBA in the old country also. Definitely would had been a lot better place. I agree that an armed society is a polite society. Reminds me of the quotes by Mahatma Gandhi

    Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.

    Thank you everyone who fight for our RKBA! And thank you TTAG for allowing us a platform to post our thoughts.

  16. “They are not looking for trouble, they are being prepared for it.”

    That was very well stated. It would ordinarily take me far more words to express that sentiment, so I think I’ll shamelessly recycle it! Props to the author, hope he doesn’t mind!

  17. WoW! Another Indian here 😀 , happy to to see I have a fellow Indian who shares my views unlike my family who think avoidance is the best policy. Wish I could be armed, responsible,be of good judgement and a good member of the American society one day 😀

  18. My Brother in law is an Indian (Tamil) he is a citizen. He has as many guns as I have. Though he has been influenced by my family over the years and came into a family with enough guns to go around. It started with hunting with us, and has now spread to the “I need to protect my family” reality. Nice essay, and you are not alone.

  19. “Free speech has certain limitations, like you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater when there is none.”

    Thank you for going farther than 99% of people who use this phrase since most people just say “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.” However, even this can be improved upon.

    You absolutely CAN yell “fire!” in a crowded theater; even when it’s not on fire. Of course you will then be morally and legally liable for the reasonably foreseeable results of your actions.

  20. This may have already been said, but my greatest fear for the freedoms enshrined in our constitution is the population growth of immigrants who have never lived with these freedoms and as a result do not have a full value system of appreciation for them. Let me be clear, I am not anti immigration, nor anti naturalization. It is just a concern I have because in these days of government sanctioned citizen eavesdropping (read NSA/Patriot Act) where I meet many American citizens who without pause say “Let them listen to me, I’m not doing anything wrong”. It is painfully obvious that these have never thought of the horrors of living under a government free from the harness of the freedom of their citizens. And those coming from nations which nether value nor protect basic freedoms may well consider deep and ruthless government intrusion in their lives as the norm, failing to see the full need to protect and defend those freedoms. Joseph Stalin best captured the essence of the inversion of governmental privilege over rights… “We do not let them think for themselves, why would we let them have firearms”

    • When reading you post, I got to thinking, Obama has yet to prove he is a natural born citizen. Adolph Hitler was from Austria, not Germany, and Joseph Stalin was from Georgia, not Russia. Two very evil guys.

  21. When seconds count, police are minutes away. I read an article(don’t remember where) one police officer stated that private gun ownership made their jobs easier since they didn’t have to chase after the perp. I also believe everyone should be allowed to possess firearms to protect themselves. The weak, elderly, and women are most vulnerable since they cannot physically overwhelm their attacker. God may not have created all men equal, but Samuel Colt did.

  22. “This is also why I am against the so-called non-qualified people clause attributed to felons. I understand that there are people who are closer to savages than people, but if we trust them enough to release them back into society, they should also be able to defend themselves. If not, then they should never be out of a prison.”

    Absolutely, we have allowed the bleeding heart liberals to create a vacationing system for our criminals and when it becomes full, they lettem out to create more mayhem in order to get back in. Crime no longer has a punishment.

  23. In the first line he states: I am not an American citizen.With that being said,how did he obtain a pistol legally?

  24. An excellent article and I appreciate your experiences and the viewpoints derived from them.

    I have one little “nit” though that I see too often repeated, and that is the “fire in the theater” scenario.

    The inability to shout fire in a theater has nothing to do with the 1st Amendment, or restrictions thereof. It has everything to do with property rights. The 1st Amendment protects our right, as individuals, to speak our mind regarding pretty much everything, in the “public square.” Most importantly, it restrains (or is supposed to anyway) the government from censoring our speech.

    In most cases, a theater is a privately-held entity, for which you have established a contract to use in the proscribed manner as determined by your ticket. Creating a disturbance in a theater, by shouting “fire,” violates that contract.

    It is this same understanding of property rights that allows an individual or a business to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights by not allowing concealed carry within their house or business.

    Neither the 1A nor the 2A trumps private property rights. So while I may feel frustrated that a certain business may prohibit my carrying a firearm (concealed or otherwise), it is my choice whether I will honor their rules, or choose to take my business elsewhere.

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