Rise in number of men seeking gun licences
Women in the IT city, it appears, prefer pepper sprays and self-defence classes to guns. Records show that there has been only a marginal increase in the number of women applying for an arms licence despite the hyper coverage of crimes against women.
The number of men applying for licences though has doubled since 2011, although they still remain in the hundreds. In 2011, there were 239 applications for gun licences of which 189 were accepted and three were from women.
In 2013, up to September, there have been 418 applications, of which nine were from women.
A police officer, who trained applicants over the last year-and-a-half in the use of arms, said: “There have been only about four women in every batch of about 30-50 members. I do not think the recent events have influenced women to arm themselves with guns.’’
Former DG IGP, ST Ramesh, pointed out that, “Women may not associate themselves with weapons. It is usually the man of the house who feels the need to apply for a gun licence. Single women do apply though.”
“Traditionally, apart from women in royal families, women own arms when it is passed on to them, from their father or husband,” said S Mariswamy, Retd Additional Director General of Police.
The low number of women owning a gun could also simply be a matter of convenience.
“For a man, it is easier to wear a gun on his person. For a woman, it usually has to go into her vanity bag. But arms available at affordable prices in our markets are usually heavy and bulky. Although cuter guns are available, these are imported and may cost over a lakh,” he said.
He added that women may not require arms to ward off sexual crimes against them. “In such cases, you need to be street-smart and small techniques of self defence may be adequate in most cases,” he said.
Statistics show that a majority of people are going for smaller, lighter revolvers and pistols, generally used for self-protection, rather than heavier arms such as rifles, which are generally used for protection of crops.
The general increase in the number of applicants for arms licences is only a reflection of the increase in population and the mushrooming number of businesses in the city.
“There is no reason to prevent these persons from having an arms licence, as long as their reasons are genuine and their backgrounds are thoroughly verified to ensure that there are no criminal antecedents. If there is a genuine concern and the police do not provide licences, it will only result in an increase in unlicensed arms,” Mariswamy pointed out.
The numbers could also reflect the increasing per capita income of Bangaloreans.
“More people can afford to buy arms. Even if the number of gun buyers have increased, if you compare it with the corresponding increase in population, it may not be that much,” Mariswamy argued.
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