Call it strict scrutiny or overcaution, the Jaipur police commissionerate has issued 500-odd arms licences and rejected an equal number of them during five years of its existence.
The commissionerate was set up in 2011 as the licensing authority after the incidents of fake arms licences surfaced in the state. The 50% rejection rate is neither encouraging for licence seekers nor for gun dealers. The latter term it as the major cause of slide in their business.
However, additional superintendent of police (licensing and legal), Jagdish Vyas, said, “Due to increase in crime and after incidents of illegal distribution of licences happened in Rajasthan, each and every application is monitored with a high degree of scrutiny. If we find any discrepancies in the information given to us by the applicant, the application can’t be improved.”
He said that there were around 6,100 people in Jaipur with arms licences. “Most of them are property dealers or are associated with the real estate business. We also receive applications from the people who want the family weapon to be transferred in their name. In such cases too, the same formalities are followed,” Vyas said.
According to an order issued on April 6, 2010 by the ministry of home affairs, the licence for non- prohibited bore guns can only be given to the people facing real threat to their life or danger.
“Even after the application is approved by the commissionerate, the applicant is personally interviewed by the commissioner and the approval depends on his assessment of the case,” additional commissioner of police (law and order) Mahendra Singh Choudhary said. In other districts, the licensing power lies with the district magistrate. However, people alleged that the magistrates only take interest in high-profile applicants.
Choudhary said, “The farmers used to apply for licences of muzzle loading guns to scare animals off their fields. However, reports of poaching put the guns under restricted head. In such cases, the forest department’s nod is also required.”