The Director General of Police, Punjab, has issued directions to police officers to mandatorily inspect shops selling guns and small weapons across the state on a quarterly basis.
- All gun shops will be inspected on a quarterly basis.
- The move aims at plugging the pilferage of ammunition from gun shops.
- The directions come after the Punjab govt tightened the rules for obtaining an arms licence.
Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Gaurav Yadav on Friday ordered mandatory inspection of shops selling guns across the state on a quarterly basis.
The DGP issued directions to all ranges inspector generals of police (IGPs), deputy inspector generals (DIGs), commissioner of police (CPs) and senior superintendent of police (SSPs) of the state, stating that rule 20.14 of Punjab Police Rules, 1934, authorizes gazetted officers of the police to inspect the shops, premises, and stocks of all licensed manufactures and dealers under the Arms Act every quarter.
Yadav directed all the CPs/SSPs to ensure that deputy superintendents of police and assistant commissioners of police mandatorily check the shops, premises and stocks of all gun houses falling in their sub-divisions every quarter. Apart from this, the district superintendent of police is required to conduct at least one inspection each year, he added.
It is noteworthy that while Punjab has only 2% of India’s population, it has nearly 10% of the total licensed weapons, which stand at nearly 4 lakhs, which means there are 13 gun licences for every 1,000 persons in Punjab.
There is a huge influx of illegal weapons from across the international border and the inter-state borders from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Although the weapons are illegally procured by anti-social elements, the ammunition is mostly pilfered from local gun houses of Punjab.
The DGP said there is an urgent need to enforce the basic practice of inspection of gun houses by gazetted police officers so as to keep a check on the stocks and plug the pilferage of ammunition and misuse of licensed arms.
Earlier, apart from directing a review of all the existing arms licenses in the state, CM Bhagwant Mann had also ordered that if any licence had been issued to an anti-social element in the past, then it must be cancelled immediately. Similarly, orders were issued not to grant new gun licences in the coming three months mandating that a licence should be issued on valid grounds only if it is absolutely necessary.
The Punjab government had also imposed a blanket ban on the public display of arms and ammunition, including on social media platforms.
The CPs/SSPs have also been asked to send district-wise quarterly reports to the Armament Branch of the Provisioning Wing, while, all the Range IGPS/DIGs have been told to ensure compliance.