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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

A first in Punjab: Bathinda admn to offer training to arms licence holders

cities Updated: Sep 30, 2019 01:20 IST
Vishal Joshi
Vishal Joshi

Aimed at minimising accidents caused by inept handling of arms, the district administration has set up a firing range to offer comprehensive weapon training to private arms licence holders.

Located at Mahant Gurbanta Das School for Deaf and Dumb and run by the district Red Cross society, it will be the first such facility in Punjab where a professional weapon handling training course will be introduced.

Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) (general) Sukhpreet Singh Sidhu said a 25-metre shooting range has been set up and process of compulsory certification for the facility by the state sports department is expected to be completed in a week’s time.

Sidhu said as per the Arms Rules, 2016, every person applying for an arms licence is required to complete the arms and ammunition safety training course.

“People get a new or renewed arms licence without having any practical knowledge of the weapons and cartridges issued to them. At several instances, firearm illiteracy caused fatal and non-fatal injuries and need for a professionally managed facility to impart the practical experience of use of weapons was serious felt,” said the ADC, the arms licensing authority.

Sidhu said a master trainer, an experienced ex-serviceman in firearm training, will be engaged for the specially crafted training course.

“Individuals applying to renew their arms licence will have to join the mandatory training at a prescribed fee. Licensed arms holders will be educated on weapon handling, firing techniques and other safety measures to be followed while using a firearm,” he added.

Official sources said contrary to the rules, authorities in various districts continue to grant arms licences while ignoring the aspect of firearm training.

“In the absence of accredited firing ranges, the ADC (general) offices, ex-officio arms licensing authority, overlook the important aspect. Police verification certificate of an applicant is the key component for processing a case of arms licence,” said a district official, pleading anonymity.

Self-sustained model

The district administration has chalked out a plan to make the upcoming shooting range a financially sustainable model.

“More than 1,000 new and renewed licences are issued annually. We are planning to levy ₹2,000 fee per person for practical training. It has also been proposed to utilise the services of an accredited master trainer to train the shooting enthusiasts at a nominal fee. Another 10-metre indoor shooting range is under consideration as well,” the district official said.

First Published: Sep 30, 2019 01:20 IST

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