There are now 44,104 legal firearms in the country, of which 40,006 are in the name of individuals. The rest of the weapons have been licensed in the name of various organizations. These weapons include single-barreled and double-barreled guns, shotguns, pistols, revolvers and rifles.
According to the Firearms Management System (FAMS), an updated legal weapons database of the Special Branch (SB) of the police, this account of legal weapons has been found. Police say the database is designed to quickly identify criminals if a crime is committed using legitimate weapons.
According to SB sources, licensed weapons and their users have been added to the database since last July. As of December 6, it has stored data on 44,104 weapons licenses across the country. Of these, 40,006 weapons are licensed in the name of the person. The remaining 3,326 weapons are in the name of various organizations including financial.
According to the relevant sources, leaders and activists of various political parties including Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party are also on the list for getting arms licenses. There are also instances of multiple weapons licenses in one’s name. According to the department-wise calculation, the highest number of weapons licenses is in Dhaka division, 11,797. And at least in Barisal, 2,248 weapons.
There have been 74 general diaries (GDs) in the concerned police stations across the country for the loss of licensed weapons, submission to police stations, police inspections on licensed weapons and loss of weapons. The licenses of 24 firearms have been permanently revoked.
There have been allegations of illegal use of legal weapons in different parts of the country at different times. In some cases, it has been reported that the miscreants have also obtained weapons licenses from the government.
Darul Salam Thana Awami League vice-president Abul Kalam was threatening pedestrians with a licensed pistol at Mirpur No. 1 last October. Mirpur police then seized the weapon from him. On March 24, Aminul Islam alias Hannan shot dead Abdur Rashid, a local rod-cement trader, with a licensed shotgun at Ainushbagh in Dakshin Khan. A murder case was registered against Aminul and his 13 accomplices at Dakshin Khan police station. Eight people including Aminul have been arrested in the case and are in jail.
Again, some people are running illegal arms business behind the scenes of legal arms shops. According to police sources, there is a legitimate arms store in Chittagong. Hossain. He has set up an illegal arms business with a valid license. On October 31, police raided the Sayedabad bus stand in the capital and arrested Hossain and his three accomplices with firearms and a large quantity of ammunition. Police later said he sold the illegal weapons to various terrorist groups in the country
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Noor Mohammad told Prothom Alo that there would be no gaps if the responsible police officers took proper care and supervision. Licenses must be revoked if people are threatened with weapons.
In order to control the illegal use of legal weapons, in the conference of the Deputy Commissioners held in 2016, emphasis was laid on the database of legal weapons. The database was recently set up at SB’s head office in Malibagh in the capital on the instructions of the Home Ministry.
Officials say that if a weapon is recovered, the barcode or serial number on the weapon can be entered into the software to determine whether it is a legal or illegal weapon. In addition to the updated statistics of the legal weapon users, their location will also be known.