Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs made Amendments in the Arms Act, 1959, and Arms Rules, 2016 notified. An increase in a number of Firearms and Ammunition allowed for Shooters.
Need for amendment
- Shooting is an important Olympic sport in India.
- The Indian shooters have excelled in international competitions.
- Keeping this in mind, the Ministry of Home Affairs, vide its notification issued under the Arms Act 1959, has made provisions to provide adequate firearms and ammunition to the shooters for their practice.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs vides its notifications has amended the provisions of the Arms Act, 1959 and the Arms Rules, 2016 to increase the number of firearms which will be kept by the shooters and increased the amount of ammunition fixed for their practice for the year.
- These provisions shall greatly facilitate their shooting practice.
- As per the new rules, currently, International Medalists/Renowned Shooters are allowed to keep extra weapons up to a complete of twelve under the exempted category, which earlier was seven.
- If a shooter is renowned in one event, he can keep maximum eight (previously it had been four), if a shooter is renowned in 2 events he can keep maximum 10 (previously it had been seven) and if a shooter is renowned in more than 2 events, he can keep maximum twelve (previously it had been seven) firearms under exempted category.
- The junior target shooter/ aspiring shooter is now allowed to possess 2 weapons (previously one) of any class in which the person is a junior target shooter/aspiring shooter.
- This provision shall facilitate shooters in practicing with various types of firearms.
- Apart from the above exemptions, the shooters are entitled to possess 2 firearms as normal citizens under provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.
About Licence for Arms
- Through these amendments, it has also been processed that no license is needed for Indian citizens for acquisitions, possession of small arms falling under the category of curio.
- However, an appropriate license as prescribed would be required to be used or to carry or transport such as small arms.
- Without the endorsement of such firearms in the prescribed license of the owner, no ammunition shall be sold for their use.
- It should be noted that as per the provisions of the Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019, the maximum number of firearms to be possessed by any person has been reduced from 3 to 2.
- Those in possession of 3 firearms have been given the facility to retain any 2 of such firearms and to deposit the remaining firearm.
- According to an estimate, India has around 35 lakh gun licenses.
- Thirteen lakh people have licenses to carry weapons in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, where 3.7 lakh people possess arms license, mostly taken for the reason of personal security.
- Punjab, which witnessed terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s, has around three.6 lakh active gun licenses.
Punishments for Violation of Rules
- The government proposes to amend Section 25 (1AA) of the Arms Act, 1959, to increase punishment from the 14-years life term to “imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s life” for manufacturing, selling, repairing and possessing “prohibited” arms.
- The minimum penalty under this section will be 14 years.
Under the present law, the offense may invite imprisonment not less than seven years but which may extend to life imprisonment, mostly up to 14 years.