- The Punjab government has cancelled the 813 gun licenses across the state in a bid to clamp down on the “gun culture” in the state.
- The Indian Arms Act of 1959 scrapped the erstwhile Act of 1878.
- The Act of 1878 passed by the British in the aftermath of the 1857 mutiny, restricted Indians from possessing firearms.
- According to the 1959 Act, no one can acquire, possess or carry any firearms in India without a license.
The Act bars one person from carrying more than three firearms after its amendment in 1983, except if:
- the person is a licensed dealer,
- belongs to the armed forces of the Union, or
- is a member of a rifle club or association licensed or recognised by the Centre.
- The Arms Act allows Indian citizens aged 21 years and above to get Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB) guns.
- Bore refers to the diameter of a gun’s bullets.
- NPB guns adhering to .35,.33, .22, and .380 are permissible for a license.
- Prohibited Bore guns of bores .38, .455, and .303 can only be issued to defence personnel or persons facing imminent threats to life.
- A license can only be granted for purposes of self-defence, crop protection, or sports.
- The Act prevents persons of unsound mind or those out on bond from getting such a license.
- Applications for the grant of arms license for NPB weapons are dealt with by the State Government/DM concerned.
- However, the Centre is also empowered to prohibit the possession and distribution of arms in certain “disturbed areas.”
- An amendment to the Act in 2019 reduced the number of permitted firearms from three to one and provided a period of one year to deposit the excess firearms.
- The amendment also increased the duration of validity of a firearm license, from three to five years.
The Arms Rules, 2016
- In 2016, the Centre issued new Arms Rules, 2016, superseding the Arms Rules, 1962.
- As per the rules applying for an arms license, rifle club, association, or firing range required one to complete a safety training course involving safe handling and carrying procedures.
- Provisions for granting restricted categories of arms to those living in militancy-hit areas and a decision on applications for arms licenses within two months were part of the rules issued by the Centre.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB