A gun licence entitles a private security staff to a higher salary compared to regular guards.
Sources in the private security agency sector and the Internal Security Division of the State police said a majority of the armed private security officers are ex-servicemen who have gun licences on the basis of their service in the armed forces.
While a regular private security guard is paid around Rs. 6,500 to Rs. 7,500 a month, an armed private security officer gets a minimum Rs. 10,000, according to Vishwanath Katti, vice-president, Central Association of Private Security Agencies, Karnataka.
Half the estimated 400 armed private security officers in Karnataka are in Bangalore given the demand here, he said.
Private security agencies are also demanding that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs authorise them to procure arms and ammunition, besides providing training to those recruited.
“This way, security agencies hiring armed guards would have some accountability; otherwise the arms licensing in this sector is not transparent,” according to Mr. Katti.