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Guns more common in the U.S. than much of Asia, Africa

February 21, 2012 |  4:45 am

Gunmap1

Guns are the new bling in India, as Mark Magnier reports for The Times. Rising income, rising crime and memories of terrorism have made Indians more eager to pack a pistol:

Government worker Deep Sidhu sits in his living room feeling the weight of the family's Luger, a German World War II-era pistol, in his hands. Guns are in the blood, he says beneath a painting of a man toting a shotgun.

"This forgiveness-peace idea will only make Pakistanis think we're soft targets," he says.

"All that Gandhi stuff is for tourists," adds his father, Raja K.S. Sidhu. "They should go off to Varanasi, see the holy cows."

Indians own about 40 million guns -- the second-highest number in the world.

But though India has a new love affair with firearms, it falls far short of the United States, Canada, countries on the Arabian Peninsula and many other nations when it comes to civilian gun ownership. 

Guns are much more common in North America than in Africa and most of Asia and South America, according to the most recent data available from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The map above shows where civilians are most likely to own guns in the world.

The statistics include handguns, rifles and other small firearms; they do not include craft-produced civilian guns. It is estimated that about three out of every four guns worldwide belong to a civilian.

For more on guns in India, read this report from the Small Arms Survey, which includes the most dangerous cities in India for gun crime and tracks deaths by unlicensed firearms.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Map: Civilian firearms ownership around the world. Credit: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime / Small Arms Survey 2007: Guns and the City

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