Delhi News

Once a hub for licenced arms, gun houses in Kashmere Gate now a mere shadow


From rifles to pistols either for hunting, amateur shooting or solely for personal protection, gun houses in North Delhi’s Kashmere Gate — the capital’s hub — had it all. Business, however, has taken a hit recently. The reason: A reduction in issuance of arms licences, as well an increase in rejection of such applications, by the Delhi Police.

As per police data, the number of licences issued in 2022 and 2021 was much lower than that in previous years. Out of the 1,390 applications received in 2022, almost 43 per cent or 602 were rejected and only 77 were approved. The rest are pending. In 2021, there were 476 rejections and 97 approvals out of 2,007 applications. In contrast, in 2019, 815 were approved and there were 736 rejections out of 1,754 applications. The previous year 2018 saw 577 applications being approved and 389 rejected out of 2,648 applications received.

Senior officers had said the low number of new licences and high rejections can be attributed to the stringent criminal verification system to ascertain an applicant’s profile and necessity to be allowed access to a weapon.

Struggling with a dwindling customer base, gun houses in the area are now down to half while employees have been reduced to a handful. Stocked weapons, meanwhile, gather dust inside glass panels. To sustain business, owners are now taking to supplying weapon covers or simply shutting shop.

RK Gupta, general manager at Garg Armoury, a gun house set up in 1949, told The Indian Express: “In the 90s, gun houses, with an elaborate clientele and dozens of employees, used to line Church Road… but now all we do is stare at the weapons, something that once used to be a prized possession.”

Overseeing an employee taking out one among at least a dozen .315 bore rifles from the glass panel to clean it with a cleaning swab and gun cleaning oil, Gupta added that he is unable to recall his last sale. “We are lucky to get even a single customer in a day…”

Located between several hardware shops, Garg Armoury currently stocks around 150 weapons, including .32 bore pistols and .315 bore rifles, most of them sourced from government ordinance factories located in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Said Gupta: “We cannot hand over a weapon to anyone without a licence. With the number of arms licences being issued seeing a significant dip over the past few years, a turnover of at least Rs 50 lakh-Rs 60 lakh a month solely from weapon sales has been reduced to losses worth more than that… This is compounded by the fact that we have to pay rent for our shops, besides ensuring daily maintenance of the legacy weapons, some of which develop rust from lying idle over a long period of time.”

Incidentally, said Gupta, sales of air guns is seeing a stable, if not increasing, rise. “Air rifles of .177 calibre do not require a licence; a customer only has to show his or her ID card to buy the same, which is why it is easier to procure… Air guns with .224 calibre, however, require a licence, these are not popular among our clientele,” he explained.

Situated just above Garg Armory is Singh Arms Corporation, the oldest gun house in the city, run by 85-year-old Charan Pal Singh Ghei since 1948.

Ghei, who is also president of the Delhi Arms Dealers Association, said: “There are only five gun houses currently operating in Kashmere Gate, whereas it used to be nearly 10… we have had multiple discussions with the licensing unit of the Delhi Police about our grievances but nothing seems to change… we cannot oppose low issuance and high rejection of arms licences as it is governed by the law, but gun houses, at least those which are running as part of their family legacy, are becoming its casualties.”

Recalling the initial days when several gun houses were being set up in the area, Ghei said weapons, mostly rifles, used to be bought by a niche and elite crowd for hunting or activities pertaining to amateur sports. “Now, even those which are sold are pistols, mostly for personal protection… and survival of traditional businesses has been severely hit,” said Ghei.

A police officer said 20 gun houses are currently functional in the city while around 25 were functional till two-three years ago.

Ghei has now switched to selling pistol and rifle covers. “Since my shop is not making any money from selling weapons, we have started manufacturing and selling leather weapon covers and even dog collars both in retail and on online platforms to sustain the shop… Meanwhile, the weapons, something my shop is known for, will carefully be kept stacked inside their glass coffin, waiting for a customer,” he said.


Source link

For more information call us at 9891563359.
We are a group of best insurance advisors in Delhi. We are experts in LIC and have received number of awards.
If you are near Delhi or Rohini or Pitampura Contact Us Here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *