Stephan Andrew explains how simple it is to obtain a licenced weapon

Getting an arms licence can be quite simple. Most people who want one just go to an arms store and apply through a dealer which ensures they will get it even if it costs them five times more money. For those who have a few connections or are bold enough, you would just need to go to the home office directly and apply for one at a nominal fee of Rs4,500. An all-Pakistan licence requires you to pay an extra Rs2,500.

There are two main kinds of licences, provincial and all-Pakistan. Provincial licences only permit the holder to conceal carry a firearm in their respective province while an all-Pakistan licence permits you to conceal-carry your weapon throughout the country. Lately, a third kind of licence called the computerised card licence can also be made which is registered with Nadra. However, there is no restriction. You could either ask for the usual book licence or apply for the card licence. The card licence enables the concerned authorities to enter your NIC number into the Nadra database and check whether you are a gun owner or not. Most people prefer the book licence which enables you to remain under the radar and also change or transfer the weapon.

The paperwork for a licence is quite simple; as long as you have a national tax number. The form is available for download on the home department website or you could just get it from a dealer or the home department. A copy of your NIC and two passport-sized photographs are needed along with the form. If you have a previous licence then a copy of it has to be provided as well. The caliber has to be mentioned on the form and only one licence can be issued per weapon of that caliber. If one does apply through a dealer, they have to be reputable enough so that you don’t end up with a fake.

It takes about a month for the whole process as it goes through a police verification system to determine whether or not you have some criminal record. Once the licence is issued you have six months to buy a firearm from an arms store only of the caliber that you had applied for. One hundred bullets are permitted per licence so it’s your choice if you want to buy just 50 or less for the first time and then more later. The dealer will stamp the licence book with the serial number engraved on the firearm along with the number of bullets you purchase.

The next step is to have your licence and firearm registered with the nearest police station for them to have a record of how many people and exactly who owns a gun in your area, which later would also assist them to carry out an investigation on criminal activity or if your firearm is stolen.

An additional 144 permit is obtained by those who wish to carry their firearm when a section 144 is imposed in the city/province. It is also acquired through the home department and the cost varies. In either case all such licences are for conceal-carry only and do not permit you to exhibit your firearm.—Information source Home Department Sindh

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