New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh tops the list of states with active gun licences with a whooping 12.77 lakh people authorised to carry weapons, followed by militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir where 3.69 lakh people possess arms licences.
According to the statistics released by the home ministry, the country has a total of 33,69,444 active gun licences as on 31 December, 2016.
The highest number of gun licences were given in Uttar Pradesh where 12,77,914 people are authorised to carry weapons, most of which were taken in the name of personal security. As per the 2011 census, the population of Uttar Pradesh is 19,98,12,341.
Jammu and Kashmir, hit by three decades of militancy, has 3,69,191 licenced gun holders, including those of prohibited bore and non-prohibited bore arms. The total population of the state as per 2011 census is 1,25,41,302, the ministry said.
Punjab, which witnessed terrorism in 1980s and 1990s, has 3,59,349 active gun licences, most of which were issued during the two decades wherein militancy had engulfed the state.
Punjab has a population of 2,77,43,338 as per the 2011 census.
There are 2,47,130 active gun licences in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Haryana where 1,41,926 people are authorised to carry licenced weapons, it said.
The other states with large number of licenced gun holders include Rajasthan (1,33,968 licences), Karnataka (1,13,631), Maharashtra (84,050), Bihar (82,585), Himachal Pradesh (77,069), Uttarakhand (64,770), Gujarat (60,784) and West Bengal (60,525).
Delhi has 38,754 licenced gun holders, Nagaland 36,606, Arunachal Pradesh 34,394, Manipur 26,836, Tamil Nadu 22,532 and Odisha issued 20,588 licences, the statistics said.
Assam has 19,283 active gun licence holders, Meghalaya 18,688, Jharkhand 17,654, Mizoram 15,895 and Kerala 9,459, they said.
The lowest number of gun licences were issued in small Union territories like Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where 125 gun licences each were issued, the ministry added.