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Licenced firearms must be monitored maintaining databases

22 January 2023
Licenced firearms must be monitored maintaining databases

The licenced firearms allowed for possession by individuals must be monitored effectively for their proper use as the absence of which may cause serious safety problems. But the sad truth is that the district administration and police that mostly issue licenses for holding arms allegedly show no seriousness in enforcing the rules for firearms' appropriate use. There are allegations that possessors of such arms are also not given training on their use which is legally essential.

As a result, their misuse can happen. We have seen in the past when owners brandish their licenced arms in public. Not long ago, a person opened his gun at a mob in Gulshan on January 15. In connection with the incident in which two people were injured, police reportedly arrested Abdul Wahid Mintu, a vice-president of Dhaka North city unit Swechchhasebak League and two of his associates.

 According to a national daily report yesterday, a photo of Cumilla district Jubo League leader Moniruzzaman Jewel holding a firearm went viral on Facebook in July 2022. This incident reportedly occurred after the Jubo League leader was accused of assaulting his party colleague and Sreepur union parishad chairman.  

There are more such examples of bringing out arms in public when apparently there was no personal safety issue involved. But arms are allowed to be owned by certain individuals for self-defense and protection of companies and offices, not for attacking the public in a show of heroism that we usually see in films.

The police officials are also of the opinion that if licenced firearms are not monitored, individuals can misuse the arms. Politics in Bangladesh is one area where there is always a constant fear that opposition parties may get locked into clashes with each other and licenced firearms can be misused.

Therefore, the absolute need for monitoring these arms cannot be overestimated. Ironically, the administration and police have no databases for doing the monitoring work; they depend on manual data records in an archaic fashion.

Quoting the district magistrate and deputy commissioner at Chattogram, the report said there was no register book to check who was carrying what firearms. We have not seen an incident of major gun violence in Bangladesh, but carelessness in issuing and monitoring how and when these arms are being carried and used can spell disaster.

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