Gun Licensing

March 18, 2023

Recently, the Punjab government has cancelled 813 gun licenses in the state to clamp down on the “gun culture”.

Why in news?

  • In 2022, the Punjab government ordered a complete ban on the public display of weapons and songs glorifying violence.
  • The order also called for a review of all licenses issued within 3 months and barred the issuance of new licenses for the next 3 months, except in extraordinary circumstances.

What are the acts related to arms in India?

  • The Indian Arms Act of 1959 was passed after India attained independence.
  • It scrapped the erstwhile Act of 1878, passed by the British that restricted Indians from possessing firearms.
  • The act was amended in 2019 decreasing the number of licensed firearms allowed per person.
  • Conditions under the act
    • No one can acquire, possess or carry any firearms in India without a license.
    • The Act bars one person from carrying more than one firearm.
    • It prevents persons of unsound mind or those out on bond from getting such a license.
    • Validity: The validity of a firearm license was increased from 3 years to 5 years (2019 amendment).

What are the types of Licenses?

  • Non- prohibited bore (NPB): Indian citizens aged 21 years and above are eligible to get Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB) guns and these are issued by the state governments.
  • Prohibited bore (PB): Prohibited Bore guns can only be issued to defence personnel or persons facing imminent threats to life and these are issued by the Central Government or Ministry of Home Affairs.