Gun shops in city carry rich legacy

Gun shops in city carry rich legacy

Most of the firearm shops in and around Kalasipalyam and K R Market were set up in the pre-independence era

Enter Kalasipalyam and the first thing that catches your attention is the row of gun shops. These shops, many of which were started during the pre-independence era, stock and sell some fancy firearms.

Metrolife visited two of the oldest shops in the area and found out the stories behind them. 

Living up to a legacy

It is said that people envied gunsmith KG Ahmed Shariff for his knowledge about firearms — he knew their history, the purpose of each model and how to maintain them. This led to the establishment of State Gun House in 1930.

Currently, the fourth generation owners, 25-year-old Fathan Shariff and his brother Fizyan, run the store along with their father Ehsan Shariff.

They have ensured that they live up to the legacy of their forefathers. “Our store has a loyal customer base, comprising businessmen, politicians, farmers and anybody who holds a valid license issued by the Bengaluru Commissioner of Police,” says Fathan.

They deal with revolvers, pistols, DBBL (double barrel breech-loading) and SBBL (single barrel breech-loading) rifles as well as Indian and imported weapons. They also have luxury branded weapons such as Walther PPK, Beretta, Smith & Wesson and more, as well as engraved models.

“We are permitted to sell non-prohibited guns and ammunition whose calibre ranges from .25 to .32. Anything beyond the .32 calibration is out of bounds for civilians,” explains Fathan. 

He says that those with a license are willing to shell out a fair bit for a quality gun. The price of a model depends on the make, availability and maintenance. “Our guns cost between Rs 15,000 and Rs one lakh,” he says. The store also sells ‘recycled’ guns — vintage guns imported previously; the practice is banned now. “People who have used such firearms for a while sell it to us and buy another recycled gun,” he says.

The .25 and .32 calibre handguns are mostly used by businessmen for self-protection; the bigger ones are used by farmers to scare away birds and animals of prey.

The biggest challenge in keeping the business running is maintaining the safety of the weapons and scrutinising and verifying all the documents of prospective buyers.

“We don’t compromise on the documentation process. This trade is also a passion for us,” Fathan says. 

‘We educate people about the importance of procuring a license’

The City Gun house is located just behind the K R Market. It was started in 1927 and is run by father–son duo of Ayazulla Sharieff and Aqib Sharieff. At 50, Ayazulla, who has been handling guns for as long as he can remember, says it is the determination to keep the trade alive, something he inherited from his forefathers, that keeps him going.

The Sharieffs procure their rifles and pistols from manufacturers in Pune and Kolkata and some are recycled and resold. 

“There are people who come asking for a gun on a temporary basis but we don’t oblige them. We educate them about the importance of procuring a license and getting all the documentation in place,” says Aqib.

Their main customers are farmers, who buy guns to scare away animals, and businessmen and politicians, who use guns for self protection.

Besides real estate contractors and liquor barons, those living in forested areas also buy these. Rifle training schools are also important customers. “The fast-moving guns are in the rifle category, which is used in these schools,” he explains

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