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Bengaluru has seen more than 50% increase in applications for arms licences this year and police attribute it to the process going online from October last year.
While the police received 120 applications in 2020 and issued 60 licences, they received 187 applications in the first nine months of 2021, and issued 102 licences.
Bengaluru has 8,142 arms licence holders, says Nisha James, deputy commissioner of police (administration).
Gun licences are given for crop protection, self protection and sports. “Of these, applications for self-protection top the list,” she says.
The police collect a fee of Rs 1,100 to issue a new arms licence. The fee can be paid at the Bangalore One portals. The original documents can either be sent through Speed Post or delivered physically at the commissioner’s office, she explains.
Applications come in more for pistols than revolvers, says Harish Gowda, a case worker in the arms section. “Every applicant has to undergo 15 to 30 days of training on how to handle firearms. We touch base with the jurisdictional police station to do a background check. The application is rejected if we find anything
suspicious,” explains Harish.
An online portal allows applicants to track the status of their applications. “This was not possible earlier, and there was too much paperwork. All this has been simplified now,” he says.
Those seeking licences for self-protection are businessmen, retired police officers and retired army men. “The retired police officers fear a threat from criminals or people they have acted against when they were in service,” explains an officer.
Rajneesh Shetty, an IT professional, who applied for a licence in 2016, says that he got it only in 2019.
“I have lost count of the number of times I visited the commissioner’s office. I haven’t used the online process just yet, but I hope it makes things easier,” says Rajneesh, a shooter who competitively competes at the national and zonal levels. Nahaar N Sayeed, member of Karnataka State Rifle Association and competition shooter and national level shotgun events, has been a gun licence holder since 2007.
“Getting a licence and getting it renewed is a long-winded process. Even after all the documents are in place, it still took me more than a year to finally get my licence. The administrative delays still exist,” he says.
However, he was among the first to apply for a journey permit online and get it in just two days.
“Earlier, my journey permits to attend competitions would take at least two or three weeks,” he adds. “I hope the online process brings in more transparency,” he adds.
Who applies under self-protection category
- Those who travel with cash
- Business tycoons who fear attacks
- Retired policemen and army officers
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