GUWAHATI, May 6 � Strict rules are implemented while issuing arms licenses to citizens and the use of the licensed weapons are checked every year. But the main problem in Assam now is the abundance of illegal weapons not only with the militants but also with former militants and other anti-social elements.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Inspector General of Assam Police, Law and Order, SN Singh revealed that more than 28,000 persons in the State have licensed weapons, but there have been hardly any report of misuse of such weapons. The problem is with illegal weapons and though the Assam Police is maintaining a drive to recover such weapons, the problem still remains. He said that since January this year, more than 160 illegal weapons have been seized and interestingly around 90 percent of those were recovered from the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) area.
Giving details of the rules followed to issue arms licenses, Singh said that the weapons used by the police and security forces are considered prohibited bores and no individual is given licenses to procure such weapons. He revealed that any Indian citizen can apply for arms licenses to respective district magistrates, but not all applications are approved.
Singh revealed that normally the applications of those who have threat to their lives, properties to guard and sports persons who want to procure sports weapons are given serious consideration. The credentials of the applicants are checked thoroughly and a proper police verification of the applicants are carried out before the applications are considered. An arms register is maintained in the offices of the district magistrates where details of the weapons in possession of the persons in the districts along with the photographs of the weapon owners are maintained. If any weapon owner wants to sell the weapon to another license holder, a proper sale deed has to be done and it is recorded in the offices of the district magistrates.
The IGP said that the licensed weapon owners can buy only four bullets at a time from the weapon dealers against their licenses and no one can buy more than 50 bullets in a year. The empty cartridges of the fired bullets will have to be preserved and it will have to be presented before a magistrate during the annual inspection with a record on where the bullets were fired.
Singh said that normally licenses are issued for single and double barrel guns, .312 and .315 rifles, .22 rifle, .32 pistols and revolvers etc. Among those weapons, .315 rifles are also used by the Forest Guards of Assam. However, no license is issued to any individual for the weapons normally used by the police and security forces, which include nine mm pistols and other weapons which use nine mm bullets, .45 pistols, 303 rifles, SLRs etc as those are considered �prohibited bores.�
During the elections and other such incidents, the license holders are asked to deposit their weapons to the nearest police stations and the owners can also deposit with the gun dealers by informing the police and magistrate.