Middlemen menace mars gun licence renewal

An acknowledgement slip of gun license renewal, dating back to 2003, where the fee was mentioned as Rs 60.

The owners of firearms have been running from one pillar to post in the deputy commissioner's office in order to renew their gun licences.

Many owners in order to overcome red-tapism and delay were now dependent on middlemen for getting the licences renewed. The gun licence holders also complained that the renewal fee and late fee had become dearer.

According to the statistics released by the district administration, 12,028 licenses had been issued to owners of firearms in the district. The right to renew the licenses is now wrested with the Deputy Commissioner, as under the Arms Act 2016. The licence holders have to submit applications and relevant documents during the renewal of gun licence.

But, the process of filing application is not easy, the licence-holders vouch. The staff in the DC building had been forcing people to wait from morning till evening,  and offering lame excuses to cover up their failure to renew the licence on the same day.

S Sunil from Lingapur, Narasimharajapura taluk said his family is in possession of a firearm from the time of his ancestors. The right to renew the license was with the Tahsildar earlier. "The new rule declaring that the licence should be renewed only at the DC's office, is not correct. People from far off places, have been facing plenty of difficulties due to the rule," he said.

He justified the decision of firearm owners in approaching middlemen. "It is the only way to get the things done quickly. But, the fee has been hiked to a great extent. Even for a day's delay in the renewal would cost Rs 2,000 fine per day," he said. Basavarajappa from Kunaga village, Narasimharajapura taluk said the gun renewal fee was Rs 60 in 2003.

From 2006, the fee was increased by 25 times to Rs 1,500. The renewed fee is a burden to many, he said. "The renewal fee should be reduced and the government should take measures to curb middlemen menace," he added. Additional Deputy Commissioner Dr Kumar clarified that there was no delay in the process to issue gun license. "Action will be taken to curb middlemen menace," he  added.

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