Of the 14,350 licensed firearm owners in the Tricity, 7,900 deposited their weapons with the local police after the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections came into force in April. Beginning May 16, the police have started returning the weapons, but many have not yet come forward to reclaim these.
In Chandigarh, out of about 7,000 licensed arms, 1,800 were deposited by residents at 16 licensed gun-houses and the Police Lines in Sector 26. Certain people, like security officials in private organisations and those who faced life threats, were exempted.
While 1,432 weapons were deposited at the Police Lines, approximately 300 weapons were deposited with the gun-houses.
Many people have not yet come back to collect their weapons. Only 280 weapons have been returned by the police while about 50 by the gun-houses in Chandigarh. In some cases, the weapons have not been given back because the number entered in the police records is different from the licence number.
In such cases, the number is checked with the original records in the licensing branch. If the numbers match, the weapon is released.
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Usually, these are cases of human error, according to an official at the Deputy Commissioner’s office. Till now, the police have referred 36 such cases to the administration, seeking clarification.
In Panchkula, out of the 1,650 licensed arms owners in the district, 1,100 had deposited their arms at police stations of their area. Only two of them have so far collected their weapons.
“We have sent a message to all officers to release the weapons submitted by licensed arms owners,’’ said DCP Ashwin Shenvi.
In Mohali, of the 5,700 licensed weapons, as many as 5,000 were deposited with the police. The residents of Mohali are yet to start taking their weapons back.