Are guns really a must for a Bhutanese?

The recent incident of a 15 year old shooting his 36-year old father to death has raised the question whether we really need guns in a relatively peaceful country.

Guns should be banned – the sooner the better. That’s’ what many people along with some members of parliament feel.

Today there are thousands of guns floating in the country, for some it is just for fashion to have one at home, while for some it is to just match their status and for some just to show off.

MP Ugyen Wangdi from the Dremitse-Ngatshang constituency under Mongar said that guns are not required in our society not because of the recent incidences but because Bhutan is a peaceful country.

“I do not support having a gun and if the law on the possession of arms is lenient then there should be a revisit to the act and I will support it. There should be ban on the import in the future,” he said.

While MP Ugyen Dorji, from the constituency of Dewathang-Gomdar under Samdrup Jongkhar said “the need for a gun to an individual depends on a level of a security threat that an individual faces in life. If your safety is not threatened, so there is no point owning a weapon, which is bound to cause some kind of an accident. There should be limit in owning of guns. Objective is lost if you start owning more than a gun”.

“A gun should not be owned as an ornament. We may have to revisit the act if there are lapses in the rules and regulation of the act. If the concerned agencies feel the need for changes, we have to look into the matter,” the MP said.

The media focal person for RBP, Colonel Thinley Drukla said that the procedure to acquire an import license has been made very stringent as compared to the past and depending on the very need of the arms after authenticating the case, we issue the concerned person an import license provided that he/she provides a air ticket that he/she is going to the said place to purchase the arms.

“Basically, the person has to have a NOC from the police and a medical certificate,” said colonel Thinley.

RBP took over issuing arms import license from Royal Bhutan Army in 2006.

Between 2011 and this year till date, eight people were granted import license for the arms however only one had imported gun.

There are still around 4309 fire arms licenses holders in the country who have not renewed their fire arms licenses as of July 2012 despite earlier notice announcement made in March 10, 2009.

Colonel Thinley Drukla said that if these people do not turn up for the renewal of their fire arms licenses by end of this December then they will be chart sheeted to the court as per the law of the country.

Fire Arms and Ammunition Act of Bhutan, 1990 needs a revisit by the member of parliaments.

However he said that every after every two years renewal should be done and a person can now only have just one gun, this was the new rule implemented after RBP had taken over from RBA.

The act does not spell out the numbers of arms an individual can have and it does not mention when a person has to renew the license.

Pistol and revolver .22, .25, .32 calibres, for Shot gun,12 and 16 Bore and for Muzzle loading Arms and Rifles 22 Rifles are the types of arms an individual can import as per the Fire Arms and Ammunition Act of Bhutan, 1990.

A person below the age of 21 will not be allowed to import any kind of above mentioned arms, the act states.

“It is time to do a background check on all the people who have guns; we certainly can’t afford to have another tragedy like this one repeating itself. People who are known alcoholics or drug abusers must be relieved of their guns as soon as possible, they are the ones that can’t be trusted with loaded firearms,” commented a reader on the website of The Bhutanese.

While another comment read: “Are we allowed to possess guns in this so called GNH Society? If so I also would like to own one. Have gun and guts than no guns and be a victim. Gun policy must be there and guns must be out at any cost. We don’t want guns and goons. NO!”

Many people The Bhutanese talked to said that Bhutan has not reached a stage where an individual needs to wield a gun. There should be ban on it before a major incident takes place.

A 40 year old, civil servant said “Unlike other countries, ours is a peaceful country where a need for a gun is not required. If people go on importing guns then there will a day when people will start shooting at each other when ever there is a fight”.

Many people especially rich people have guns at home in the name of safety while surprisingly; even police personnel out patrolling during the night don’t use guns.

One of the Police officer said that till date there has never been an incident where police had used guns to prevent any kind of crimes.

MP Ugyen Wangdi said if it is in the south, then one can consider having arms for protection due to the porous border but otherwise one should do away with the arms.


Chencho Dema/Thimphu

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  1. are guns really a must? Who said it is a must? It is a right, that’s all. Cars kill more people in Bhutan.

  2. We do not need guns, lets practice Bhutanese martial arts – the Bhutanese style wrestling. 

  3. Why it is necessary to shot our own father rather than the enemies. I think that was the fucking son who shot his own to death. Now you see the consequences whether you can able to survive with your own feet without the help of your fathers help. I cannot kill my own father, how much i am drunk or in tips of drugs.

    The news was really fucking to me, in this GNH country..

    • if dat son havnt shoot dat dad……he wud have killed whole family…and dying one is better dan dying whole family……….dat dad might be psycho ..fighting during dawn…5am…..

  4. those whos security is threaten .issuing of guns is valid point..but guns areimported by big shots and sometime they showoff…one man i knew used to carry gun during tsechu and just showsoff………but how did deceased man have three gun in his house………………

  5. bhutanman – what is your point here? you seem to know pretty well that cars kill more people already,,,,   now u want guns to imported freely too??? so that even more number of  people start getting killed??? 

    talking of rights, you have full right to keep shut on this issue


    Pls check the list of gun owners in rbp www n we will find most of the individual owns more than 1 as many as 4, etc. most also own automatic gun like AK47, etc, as per the law unless for rbg I think no one can own fully automatic gun. I was shock to see the list, and this people haven’t renewed their license for many years,  

    What is govt doing, some lyonpos also come into this list, I don’t know whether it is gifted by royal families or kept as collection during recent war in the south or smuggled or bought. But one thing is clear they own it.

  7. We use car for transportation and it is not for killing but guns are for killing people. Don;t be foolish. 

    • we keep guns to protect our country’s security and sovereignty ……….we didnt flushed out ULFA and others by hitting by car and ran away from spot……..

  8. Even though people often use the excuse of protection, a gun is an object that is designed to harm. People could exercise their right to own one but should also own the responsibility for any consequences that come with it. What you think will protect you can potentially kill you, and others.
    btw, i wouldn’t mind buying a gun if i could use it ride to work. It’ll be so much cheaper & I wouldn’t need a garage.

  9. People own guns to kill others. People would give a second thought to owning a gun if he/she also realises that the same gun can kill himself/herself like it happened in this case.

  10. People with arrogance find delights in possessing such weapons and give convincing justifications that it is for self defence. Ordinary people usually due to their delusion fail to realise that possession of weapons is the source of many disadvatanges in this and future lives. In fact people in GNH society must be equipped and ornamented with patience rather than guns. In Bhutan such weapons are held by people with authority and wealth accumulated through contaminated acts and in turn inherited by their haughty and so called lucky offsprings.

  11. if he had a gun, would have escaped without being kidnapped. Recent taxi driver kidnapping case hints the taxi drivers should be licensed to carry one. 

  12. Not only the gun license need to be renewed, the license holder must also visit the mental stability check up. Within a span of two years anything can happen to those crazy gun owner and might pose great threat to the society as a whole.

  13. Frankly speaking all the problems that we have in Bhutan sprung from the irresponsibility of the so called “Elite Group of People”. How do we tackle them? 


    Pls check the rbp www, some VIPs even own fully automatic weapons and some haven’t renewed for years while  some own more than one. As per law individual can own semiautomatic and one only. 

  15. Look I don’t mean to sound like a crack pot but don’t you have super thick forests and you have bears, wild boars, wolves and the YETI who kidnaps children? If you want peace and safety you must be trained, armed and be prepared to protect what you love and treasure most. Forget about talks about “Since we live in a peaceful country we don’t need guns. So lets ban it” CRAP.
    In that case, forget about having an armed forces and there’s no need for Police to do patroling or uphold the LAW right?
    The reason you need firearms is for cases like just in case the Government turned BAD and you need to defend yourselves from corrupt officials, bad guys, wild animals or YETIs. It may not happen presently but can you garantee that it won’t happen in the future?
    So please cut the “Ban all firearms ” crap. Please do not give up your firearms as it is FOLLY. You need them in times of trouble.
    The Government naturally wants you to give up your Firearms as it would be more easier to govern and control you. Also to instill marshal law. Don’t be fooled. Keep your Firearms as you cannot predict the future. You may have peace now but no one knows what will happen in the future. Take care and God Bless.

  16. Don’t give up your firearms.
    You need to protect yourselves from wild animals, monsters, future corrupt government officials, gangsters and dangerously mad people.
    Having a Good Bhutanist King now doesn’t mean you have one in the future. Please treasure and protect your King.
    If you don’t need firearms then forget about having an army or police force as Bhutan is a “Peaceful” country right?
    So stop kidding yourselves.
    If you want to continue to have PEACE in the future, you need to be prepared to defend it. Banning firearms is definitely not the answer.

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