Police probing a firing in Kasba, where a man allegedly took his father’s licensed gun and opened fire targeting his neighbours, said it was illegal to use a gun unless the licence was in one’s own name.
Soumit Mandal had allegedly taken his elderly father’s gun from his Chetla home and opened fire at his neighbours in Kasba.
“According to the rule related to the issuance of arms licence, no one except the licensee of a particular gun can use it,” an officer in Lalbazar said.
Mandal’s father has told the police that he was not at home when his son went to his Chetla home and took out the gun from the locker.
“He said he was not aware that his son, who lives in Kasba, would suddenly come to their Chetla home in his absence,” an officer said.
Explaining the norms of the use of licenced guns, a retired officer of Calcutta police said in case of the death of the licence holder, the first step is to surrender the gun at the local police station along with the relevant documents under Section 21 of the Arms Act.
“If the family is interested in retaining the gun as part of the heirloom, the closest kin has to make a fresh application before the police commissioner (in case of a commissionerate) or the district magistrate’s office seeking a fresh arms licence along with the interest to retain the gun.”
The authorities may grant a licence and reissue the same gun to the person after a police verification report, he added.
The retired cop said the only exception where a “retainer” can use a gun on behalf of the licensee is in the case of commercial establishments (like cash collection agencies) where the licences are issued in the name of the owner but the guns are being used by their employees or guards.
In this case, Mandal was neither in possession of an arms licence nor was he entrusted by his father to “retain” his 0.32 calibre gun, the police said.
Mandal has been charged under sections of the arms act that deal with illegal possession and use of arms.