KARACHI: In light of the Supreme Court directives on the city’s law and order situation, the Sindh home department has notified a new weapons policy, banning licences for prohibited-bore weapons and restricting the number of licences per individual to four.
With the Sandy Hook school shooting prompting fierce debates on gun control the world over, the Sindh government’s latest weapon procuring procedure also tries to curb the spread of assault weapons.
The home department and the deputy commissioners, under their respective quotas, would be able to issue licences for only non-prohibited-bore weapons. The category broadly includes semi-automatic shotguns and handguns of any calibre but not fully automatic weapons, mostly assault rifles.
The new policy increases the age-limit to get a gun to at least 25. The licences would only be issued after police clearance certificate and if the licence holder is found to be involved in any crime, the permit would be cancelled. All prohibited bore licences are banned until further orders. Only one weapon will be allowed on a licence while the licence fee has been fixed at Rs4,500 for individuals and Rs6,500 for companies or institutions. The licence holders are advised to buy weapons within 60 days of issuance and register the licence and weapon with the area police station otherwise the licence would be cancelled. Display of weapon will be completely banned.
All new gun licences will be computerised for which an agreement has been signed with National Database and Registration Authority, said Waseem Ahmed, the additional home chief secretary, who represented the Sindh government in the Supreme Court’s hearing on implementation of suo motu case on Karachi violence.
More than one million licences issued in the past will be properly scrutinised and cancelled if any mandatory requirements are not met. The process would be completed within three months in collaboration with Nadra, he added.
Private security companies have been asked to make devise reliable policies to hire trained security guards and will be punished if they violate rules and regulations. The home department can issue licences to diplomats on recommendation of the foreign ministry.
Everyone, including civil society members and political parties, wants Karachi to be free of illegal guns and the new arms policy would help, said Sharfuddin Memon, consultant on home affairs.
“We have to first control the process of issuing arms licences and this policy will help,” he said. “In the second phase, we have to verify the manual licences issued in the past as many people have got much more than four licences.” However, special assistant to chief minister on media affairs, Waqar Mehdi, told The Express Tribune that Sindh government has no authority to issue prohibited-bore licences. “Only the prime minister has the authority to give permission and then the federal interior ministry issues the licences for weapons like Kalashnikovs,” he said, clarifying that the ministers and elected representatives get their licences made through the prime minister also.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ