The Hindu University of America (HUA) was founded in 1989 and granted authorization in 1993 to give students a special academic setting in which to study the knowledge systems derived from Vedic thought and those that have since emerged—that is, the philosophies, customs, cultures, and civilizations that have come to be known as Hinduism in the public imagination.

Yet another episode of the ever-more-familiar sequence of a random act of violence, the loss of innocent lives, the tremendous sadness that we all share in the wake of such loss, and the “thoughts and prayers” that inevitably follow them, as well as the predictable deadlock and painful helplessness in terms of any real action on ground, from the country’s leadership is playing out once more on the American Independence Day of 2022. In the USA, at least, the possibility that we (as in any one of us) may any day become a victim of a random act of violence in the schools, colleges, campuses, theatres, concerts, at the supermarket, and even at the Fourth of July parade is increasingly real. Are these acts of violence aberrations? Or have they become the norm in an advanced civilized society like the USA? Is this how a civilized, advanced society is meant to be?

If the American civilization as we have come to cherish and respect has entered a spiral of self-destruction, as it appears to be, is there still an opportunity to reverse course? What is the way out of senseless violence plaguing American society today? Or do we simply have to accept that everyday a certain number of people randomly will have to be sacrificed, as unavoidable collateral damage, to uphold the ‘freedom’ of Gun ownership for the people and the ‘freedom’ to maximize gun sales for the corporations?

What does Hindu Dharma have anything to do with domestic gun violence that the USA is witnessing all too frequently? What does it have to say about ownership and use of guns or any weapons for that matter? In this sequence of two articles, we will examine this issue through the lens of Hindu Dharma.


Ownership of a gun is a deemed fundamental right in the US Constitution[1], as enshrined in its second amendment passed in 1791, which reads “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This has often been read in a way that means that anyone in the US can keep and bear arms, i.e., legally possess a weapon of destruction. It is understandable that a trained military officer or soldier, who is a member of a well-regulated entity, such as the military or the police, may necessarily keep and bear arms to perform his duties, but what is the relationship between any private citizen i.e., the people and a ‘well-regulated militia’ that the second amendment references? Herein lies an enormous space for mischievous interpretation. There appears to be no guidelines in the constitution about how a gun may be used except for a vague hint about sport hunting. The US Department of Justice website[2] says that “Americans have a right to defend their homes, and nothing should undermine this right; nor does anyone question that the Constitution protects the right of hunters to own and keep sporting guns for hunting any more than anyone would challenge the right to own and keep fishing rods and other equipment for fishing.” The reality is gun ownership is a key causal factor for unnatural mortality in the US. The data on this is beyond ambiguous.


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