The Director General of Police (DGP) of Punjab, Gaurav Yadav, ordered a quarterly inspection of gun shops across the state on Friday.
The DGP directed all range inspector generals of police (IGPs), deputy inspector generals (DIGs), commissioners of police (CPs), and senior superintendents of police (SSPs) in the state that rule 20.14 of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, authorises gazetted officers of the police to inspect the shops, premises, and stocks of all licenced manufactures and dealers under the Arms Act every quarter.
Yadav directed all CPs/SSPs to ensure that deputy superintendents of police and assistant commissioners of police conduct quarterly checks on the shops, premises, and stocks of all gun houses in their jurisdiction. Aside from that, he added, the district superintendent of police is required to conduct at least one inspection per year.
While Punjab has only 2% of India’s population, it has nearly 10% of the total licenced weapons, totaling nearly 4 lakhs, implying that there are 13 gun licences for every 1,000 people in Punjab.
Illegal weapons are being smuggled across international and inter-state borders from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh. Although the weapons are obtained illegally by anti-social elements, the ammunition is mostly stolen from local gun shops in Punjab.
The DGP stated that there is an urgent need to enforce the basic practise of inspection of gun houses by gazetted police officers in order to keep a check on stocks and prevent ammunition pilferage and misuse of licenced arms.