Indonesia’s National Police will continue to grant civilians gun permits, despite calls from lawmakers for stricter gun regulations after a series of headline-grabbing reports cast doubt on public safety.
The National Police have issued more than 25,000 gun permits to civilians since 2009, not counting the 10,154 permits for guns that fire rubber bullets and 5,810 permits for airsoft guns, according to National Police spokesman Ins. Gen. Saud Usman Nasution.
Critics allege the National Police want lax gun laws because they make money off gun permits. But Saud refuted the claim, explaining that gun permit fees are added to state coffers.
“It’s not true,” Saud said. “Yes, you have to pay to get a license, but it is cheap, less than Rp 1 million for a five-year permit. And that payment is categorized as non-tax state revenue.”
Under Indonesia’s gun laws, only citizens employed in select professions can be issued a gun permit. Among those allowed to legally pack heat in Indonesia are doctors, public officials, lawmakers, members of the military and police and corporate heads.
“As long as they are good, we’ll grant a license,” Saud said. “But they have to pass a psychological test first.”
But lawmakers say it is too easy to get a gun permit in Indonesia.
“It’s no secret that it is easy to get a firearm, whether it be legal or illegal,” said Indra SH, a member of the House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs. “The police need to evaluate and revoke civilian firearm permits.”
Tubagus Hasanuddin, of the House Commission I, which oversees defense, said that civilian gun ownership has led to public unrest.
“There are more legal and illegal uses of firearms by civilian owners who are showing off, threatening or killing people,” he said. “It has many people really scared.”
The issue came to the forefront of political discourse after a spate of high-profile gun-related incidents in Jakarta.
Jakarta businessman Iswahyudi Anshar reportedly pulled a gun and threatened a waiter at Cork and Screw, in Plaza Indonesia, over an expensive bill. Days later, a captain with the Indonesian Military fired his gun into the air during an argument over a traffic accident in Palmerah, West Jakarta.