With absolutely no data available on the number of firearms holders in the state, the home department has decided to create a database of all licences issued and names of firearm holders in a digital format.
In the current scenario, if there is a shooting incident in a specific area, there is no way that the police can use the licence issuing data to identify the person using the weapon.
Also, the growing number of cases of people possessing licences and never renewing them has given rise to arms trafficking. "This will not only help the police tackle crime, but will also help regulate processes of licence renewal, buying the weapon within the three-month deadline, and keeping tap on people who have illegal weapons. It will plug the loopholes in the system," said minister of state for home Satej Patil while revealing the new initiative by the department.
According to Patil, the department will be collecting the entire arms licence database from various police stations and will arrange it area-wise, with the name of the license holder, the date it was issued, and the description of the arm that he possesses. This will help the department keep a tab on the number of weapons and also make sure renewals take place.
The current system for obtaining arms entails a form that needs to be filled with a Rs5 stamp fee. This form goes from the police station to the area's deputy commissioner of police, who interviews the applicant and gives a licence after he submits documents including a justification for possessing a firearm. After getting the licence, he needs to renew it annually or every three-years and the fee depends on nature of the weapon.
Once the entire database of licences is ready, it will help the state government revoke licenses which have not been renewed without any reasonable explanation.