Context: In the wake of the Texas school massacre, let’s have a look at Gun Control Legislation in India
Arms Act, 1959
- The Arms Act, 1959 governs matters related to acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, transportation, import and export of arms and ammunition.
- It defines a specific class of ‘prohibited’ arms and ammunitions, restricts their use and prescribes penalties for contravention of its provisions.
- Gun license applicants in India must be at least 21 years and not convicted of any offence involving violence, of ‘unsound mind’ or a threat to public safety and peace.
- Upon receiving an application, the licensing authority (i.e., the Home Ministry), asks the officer in-charge of the nearest police station to submit a report about the applicant after thorough vetting.
- It also enlists specific provisions on curtailing the use of licensed weapons to ensure social harmony.
- No entity is permitted to sell or transfer any firearm which does not bear the name of the maker, manufacturer’s number or any other visible or stamped identification mark.
- Any act of conversion (such as shortening the barrel of a firearm or converting an imitation firearm into a firearm) or unlawful import-export is punishable with an imprisonment term of seven years, which may extend to life imprisonment and be liable to monetary fines.
The Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019
- The Arms Act amended in 2019 reduces the number of firearms that an individual can procure from three to two.
- The Amended Act also increases the duration of the validity of a firearm license from three years to five years.