Abu Dhabi Police grant 1,500 gun permits after hunting exhibition
More than 1,500 people snapped up gun licences at a four-day hunting exhibition in the UAE, each getting approval in just 10 minutes.
Hundreds of enthusiasts were seen lining up to buy everything from handguns to rifles during the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX).
Visitors to the exhibition could learn about the culture and heritage of hunting as well as conservation, while also buying guns.
Abu Dhabi Police had their own display, where UAE nationals could get a licence for their new purchases.
The force issued a statement yesterday saying that the average application took just 10 minutes, with 1,002 applicants processed in the first three days. At least 500 more were expected to apply yesterday.
Police said that any UAE national who wanted a gun would be accepted, as long as they did not have a criminal record or history of mental illness.
The speed of granting permits beats most pro-gun US states, where approval takes at least 24 hours.
Shooting is a popular sport in the UAE, with Abdulla Sultan Al Aryani having won gold at the London 2012 Paralympics last week in rifle shooting. The country’s only Olympic gold medallist was also in shooting.
However, gun applicant Hameid Al Hamali told 7DAYS that some people are also worried about crime, especially in rural areas.
“People want to protect their families,” said Al Hamali, who was getting his first gun, a .22 rifle for hunting birds.
Another person registering was Police Captain Saeed Al Rashidi, a 28-year-old from Al Ain. He had chosen a Webley & Scott handgun for himself and was filling out the application when he spoke to 7DAYS. He said he wanted the gun “just to have it”.
However, people would still have to wait before they could use the weapons.
Khalfan Al Shamsi, an official in charge of gun registration at the exhibition, said it could take one to two months for applicants to receive their guns, because police first had to conduct ballistic tests so police would know if the guns were used for crime in the future.
Al Shamsi said that gun buyers were divided “about 50/50” between hunters and people who wanted protection for themselves and their families.
Major Salem El Hafaret, general supervisor of the security committee of the exhibition, said in a statement that there was a high demand for guns licences this year and said police were proud that it took just 10 minutes to grant the permits.
The security committee said in a statement that it was very pleased to have women on the committee this year and said Emirati women were helping to process gun applications.
Inside the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, gun sellers said that business was extremely good this year.
Ali, a salesman for UAE gun company Tawazun, said that there was very strong sales for handguns and rifles. He also invited 7DAYS to look through the scopes of a giant Dhs80,000 sniper rifle that was on sale.
“This one is not for the ordinary person in his house. This one would need a special licence,” he said. “But overall, business is excellent and it has been a really great show.”