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Licence to defend

Last updated: 20 October, 2011
Nina C George 21:21 IST

Gun control

Most of the rich and the affluent in the City are not bothered about the inability of the guardians of law to combat spiralling crime. That some Bangaloreans have armed themselves to the teeth was evident when Sandalwood star Darshan allegedly threatened his wife with a revolver.

Top officials with the Arms Licensing Department of the Bangalore City Police say that there has been a steady rise in the issuing of gun licences. Self-protection seems to be the main motive behind the gradual rise in the number of Bangaloreans acquiring gun licences. Metrolife interacts with the police department and asks people if owning a gun would inculcate in them a sense of safety. A senior official with the police department confirms that there are 10,000 or more gun licence-holders in the City at present.

“People arming themselves is a healthy trend. Guns give people confidence. It is not always possible for the police to be on the spot every time a person is attacked. Self-defence is the next best alternative,” he says.

He points out that 70 per cent of gun licencees are businessmen and ex-servicemen. Earlier, people prefered to go in for Single Barrel Breech Loading (SBBL) and Double Barrel Breech Loading (DBBL) guns because they could not afford to buy a pistol or a revolver but now the trend has changed.

“People don’t mind spending a huge amount on these guns,” he says and adds, “Awareness, awakening and affordability are the main reasons for the rise in the number of gun licence-holders.”

He further points out that a revolver or pistol costs around Rs 65,000. SBBL and DBBL guns cost anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 a piece respectively. An imported revolver or pistol would cost anywhere between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh or more. The process to obtain a gun licence is simple. The aspirant must meet certain criteria laid down by the police.

A senior police officer with the Bangalore City Police says, “Any able-bodied person or any individual, who is capable of handling a weapon and feels there is a need to possess one, will be issued a licence provided there is justification for his or her need.”

Most of those who apply for a gun licence live in areas like Sadashivnagar, Ashok Nagar, Richmond Town and Cantonment Area.... to mention a few. While police officials have confirmed that there haven’t been any case of misuse in recent times, people are sceptical and feel that gun
licences must be issued only to responsible citizens.

If a person is found guilty of misuse, then his or her licence will be cancelled and a criminal case will be slapped on the culprit, says a senior police officer. But Navya B, an IT professional, is not satisfied with the explanation. She feels that gun licences must be issued only to responsible citizens. “The gun must be used only for self-defence and not against anyone, in a fit of rage.

Government should take extreme action in cases where a licensed weapon is misused and the culprit must be prosecuted without any discrimination,” she says.

Ganesh Rao, a businessman, who possesses a gun licence, confesses, “Psychologically, you feel safe when you own a gun. The chances of misuse are a lot less because of the fear of being punished and put behind bars.”

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