Dope test mandatory for renewal of firearm in Punjab

Dope test mandatory for renewal of firearm in Punjab

Punjab will soon make it mandatory for arms license holders to clear a dope test before renewal of a firearm license.

Punjab has maximum number of licensed firearms holders only second to UP in the country. The idea is to ebb the misuse of firearms in a state that is ridden with high incidents of narcotics trafficking, drug abuse and a gun-toting culture.

Given the notoriety with drugs that Punjab grapples with, mandatory dope test has been made a norm to avail jobs in the government sector, army recruitments and even for jail inmates lodged in state prisons.

The Punjab government has now swung into action following directions from the Union Government in this regard. It is estimated that Punjab has more firearms than those with the state police. The rampant gun-toting culture in the state often has resulted in fatal incidents of road rage, criminal activities and celebratory firing. Punjab has nearly 20% of the total licensed weapons in the country. This border state has an alarming culture of gangsters who blatantly flaunt their profile pictures on social media with guns. Mandatory dope test, it is hoped, will restrict the misuse of firearms.

To weed out drug addicts at the entry level in military recruitment for Other Ranks (OR), the army is following a procedure in Punjab to conduct dope test on aspirants willing to join the forces. The Army took this decision to ensure that drug addicts do not don the olive green uniform. Dope test clearance certificate is also a requirement for applying for a government job in Punjab.

The state has also made a dope test mandatory for under-trials and convicts lodged in various jails in Punjab. This lot will have to undergo a dope test on arrival at a Central or district jails in the state. Jail inmates will be re-tested after every six months. A study on Punjab established that close to 47% of all inmates in Punjab jails were either addicts or drug peddlers.