The guns used in last week's Bombay massacre were all "prohibited weapons" under Indian law, just as they are in Britain. In this country we have seen the irrelevance of such bans (handgun crime, for instance, doubled here within five years of the prohibition of legal pistol ownership), but the largely drug related nature of most extreme violence here has left most of us with a sheltered awareness of the threat. We have not yet faced a determined and broad-based attack.

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