Uttar Pradesh has the distinction of having maximum number of arms licences in the country. According to the latest data released by the Union home ministry, out of the 33,69,444 lakh gun licences issued across the country as many as 12.77 lakh are in Uttar Pradesh, which is followed by militancy infested Jammu and Kashmir at 3.69 lakh such licences. The figures are till December 31, 2016
According to the ministry, most of these arms licences have been issued in the name of security personnel which has the highest population in the country at 19,98,12,341. “It was obvious that in proportion to the population the number of licences issued would also be high though it also indicates that a number of people have even hired armed private security personnel,” an official said.
In J&K the total number of gun licences issued are 3,69,191 which include both non-prohibited as well as the prohibited bores though the latter is issued in “extreme circumstances and after very stringent security checks.” Officials claimed the non-prohibited bore weapons issued in J&K is largely on account of the large scale militancy in the Valley.
J&K is followed by Punjab, which too witnessed militancy in phases during the 1980s and 90s, where 3,59,349 active gun licences have been issued by the licensing department of the state police. Most of the these were issued during the time that the State was witnessing militancy by pro-Khalistan terror outfits. According to the 2011 census, Punjab has a population of 2,77,43,338.
Similarly, there are 2,47,130 active weapon licences in Madhya Pradesh which is followed by Haryana at 1,41,926. Other States which have a high number of active gun licences issued to the public include Rajasthan with 1,33,968 licences, Karnataka at 1,13,631, Maharashtra at 84,050, Bihar at 82,585, Himachal Pradesh at 77,069, Uttarakhand at 64,770, Gujarat at 60,784 and West Bengal with 60,525 such licences