The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, November 18
Close on the heels of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann directing a review of all the existing arms licenses to check gun culture, Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Gaurav Yadav on Friday ordered a mandatory inspection of the shops, premises and stocks of all the gun houses on a quarterly basis across the state.
The DGP issued directions to all ranges IGsP/DIGs and all CPs/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 manufacturers and dealers under the Arms Act every quarter.
DGP Gaurav Yadav directed all the CPs/SSPs to ensure that DSPs/ACPs should 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, or there are 13 gun licenses 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 UP, Bihar and MP. Although the weapons are illegally procured by anti-social elements, the ammunition is mostly pilfered from local gun houses of Punjab.
The DGP said that there was an urgent need to enforce the basic policing practice of inspection of gun houses by gazetted police officers for which they are empowered as per the rules, 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 arm licenses in the state, CM Bhagwant Mann had also ordered that if any license had been issued to an anti-social element, in the past, then it must be canceled immediately. Similarly, it had also been ordered that no new license should be issued generally in the coming three months adding that a license should be issued only where it is utmost and genuinely required. The Punjab Government had also imposed a blanket ban on the public display of arms and ammunition, including on social media platforms.
Meanwhile, 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 were told to monitor compliance.