In India, obtaining a gun licence is governed by the 1959 Arms Act. Only non-prohibited bore (NPB) firearms are available for purchase by Indian nationals or civilians who wish to possess a firearm. If a civilian faces a serious threat to their life, this act permits them to obtain a weapons licence. Although proving a danger just requires the filing of a first information report, or FIR, obtaining a gun licence in India is a lengthy process.

How to Get a Gun Licence

  • Putting in an application is the initial step. The application form can be obtained through the state’s district superintendent of police.
  • When the police get the application, they will verify whether the address provided is real and whether there are any prior records of any form of criminal behaviour.
  • Numerous details are gathered on the person requesting a gun, including asking neighbours and those in the immediate vicinity if they have witnessed any malice directed at the applicant or if they have witnessed the applicant getting into altercations out of rage or outbursts.
  • To assess if the individual is suffering from a mental or physical illness, the DCP conducts an interview with the person who wants to get a gun licence.
  • The primary question throughout the interview is: “Why do you need a gun?” One of the main justifications given by the majority of Indians for wanting a gun is self-defence, which is also acknowledged. If someone wants to be protected from wild animals, they can also apply for a firearms licence.
  • Following the interview, the DCP forwards the reports to the National Crime Record Bureau and the Criminal Branch.

After completing all of these procedures and providing the DCP with the necessary data, a civilian may obtain a firearms licence.

It is now evident that the buyer must get in touch with the dealer to purchase the gun after obtaining the gun licence. The client will need to schedule a pre-order in order to get the gun from any licenced shop of their choice.

Documents needed to obtain the firearm from the manufacturer:

  1. issued licence that is valid for the specified date and location and that is either in Hindi or English.
  2. a duplicate of the firearms licence.
  3. Two copies of the NOC were provided: one to the police authorities and one to the factory owner. NOC stands for no objection certificate; if a firearms licence is accepted anywhere in India, no NOC certificate is required.
  4. Additionally, the location of the factory requires a transit licence.

Letters cannot be issued just on the basis of authority; distribution to the retainer may only be approved on the customer’s behalf. Now, this also needs a few more details, such as the retainer’s name, a passport-sized photo, and an authority letter that is personally signed by the retainer.

How To Obtain A Weapon In India

The purchaser must wait roughly two months to receive the pistol; depending on the specific factory’s manufacturing system, this time may even reach three months.

A renewal form is accessible for anyone who wishes to renew their firearms licence.

The customer must provide the firearm with the gun licence on the renewal form, together with all other documents that were already attested when the licence was obtained.

The customer should perform the following actions if the gun licence was issued in another state and it needs to be issued in additional states:

  • They must get a re-registration form from the relevant authority and affix a second copy of their previously issued licence.
  • The residential evidence should be attached as well.
  • Should the licence not be valid throughout India, an NOC ought to be attached.
  • statements from the police regarding the surrounding areas.

Selling Your Licenced Gun: A Guide

In order to sell a weapon, a person must notify the arms branch of their desire to do so and file an application with a Rs. 5/- court stamp and an attached copy of their original gun licence.

All of the paperwork they previously submitted to have the guns issued should be provided.

Can I Transfer The Gun?

If the original gun licence is still in effect at the time of the transfer, the owner may wish to transfer ownership of the weapon to their legal heirs by submitting an application on plain paper and attaching it to their Form A.

You can resubmit the application using Form A if the first licence has expired. It is necessary to obtain two passport-sized pictures, and the legal heirs should not protest.

Can Indian Nationals Living Abroad Obtain a Gun Licence in India?

For Indian nationals living abroad, obtaining a gun licence in India is contingent upon their specific place of residency.

  1. It must demonstrate the permanence of the state of residence.
  2. It must provide a legitimate justification for its request for a gun licence.

For example, if he wishes to use the licence for hunting,.

However, it becomes extremely difficult for foreign nationals visiting India for a short period of time to obtain a licence.

Revocation of a Firearms Licence

  • Authorities have the authority to revoke a licence if the applicant conceals information or fails to provide the necessary supporting documentation during the gun licence application process. A gun licence may also be suspended by the authorities for a predetermined amount of time.
  • If the licence officer is convinced that the owner of the gun has violated specific act provisions, he may suspend the licence.
  • Additionally, if there is a threat in a public area or if the weapon is not delivered by the expiration of the licence, they have the authority to suspend the licence.

Get A Licence To Sell Or Import Weapons

It is stipulated in the general law that no citizen may import or export firearms due to foreign trade regulations. However, there are some instances in which importing goods into another nation is exempt.

  • The user or importer must first get a licence from the relevant authority.
  • The importer can learn the process for importing weaponry by getting in direct contact with the government agency.
  • Documentation pertaining to imports and a certificate of customs clearance are required for the import of goods. They ought to possess the certificate’s origin as well.
  • It is now necessary for us to comprehend that certification is required before exporting items imported from the least developed nations.

Maximum Number of Guns Allowed with a Single Gun License

A single arms licence allows an Indian person to possess multiple firearms. However, after obtaining the necessary authorization from the licence authorities, each type of handgun must be endorsed separately.

Thus, for illustration, suppose you first apply for an arms licence for a handgun (NPB pistol or revolver), your licence is approved, and you buy the weapon and get it endorsed on your licence.

In the future, if you want to buy a rifle, extra handgun, or shotgun, you’ll need to submit an application to the licencing authority asking for the addition of the desired firearm type (rifle, handgun, or shotgun) and describing your need for it.

The application must be approved by the licencing body before another arm can be bought. There is a maximum limit of three firearms that an individual can own at any given point of time.

Current Information on Arms Regulations

Every applicant for a licence to possess firearms must now complete an arms-related safety course.

The safeguard principles covered in this training will include:

  • safe management.
  • Method of firing.
  • the entire process for their transit or safekeeping.

As a result of living in a territory or zone where extremists are most active and pose a serious threat to their safety, the authority also states that those with permits to carry guns will be granted.

This means that the licence authority now has 60 days to approve or deny a licence.

Only three groups will be eligible for licence issuance:

  1. Self-protection
  2. Athletics
  3. protection of crops

The ownership of authorised electronic disabling weapons, such as taser guns, is permitted by the government. Taser gun sales are primarily intended to increase women’s safety.

The geographic scope of Arms licences

Regarding Prohibited Bore (PB) weapons, the Central Government shall evaluate the reasons provided by the weapon’s owner before extending the extension area to one state, multiple states, or the entirety of India. The State Governments have been instructed to carefully assess requests for allowing All India Validity (AIV) for NPB weapons based on the recommendations of the relevant DM, taking into account local considerations, the law and order situation, and the sincerity of the request.

It has been recommended to state governments to provide area validity for a maximum of three neighbouring states and to take into account petitions for Area Validity at the state level for the following categories:

(i) Members of Parliament and Union Ministers in attendance,

(ii) Military and paramilitary personnel,

(iii) All-India Services officers,

(iv) Officers of applicants who are eligible to serve anywhere in India may be accepted up to the Secretary (Home) level in the relevant State.

In deserving circumstances, the State Government shall request prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for applicants not falling under one of the aforementioned categories. In some situations, All India validity may be granted for a period of three years, after which the State Government, with the MHA’s prior approval, may reevaluate the matter. Data regarding All-India validity may be sent by the State Government to MHA on a quarterly basis.

Licences to Carry Arms under Family Heirloom

A current licensee’s PB or NPB firearms may be passed down to their lawful heir. if the licensee has been in possession of the firearm for 25 years or longer, or if the licensee is 70 years of age or older. Applications for the transfer of PB and NPB weapons may be submitted to the MHA, State Government, and DM, provided that the legal heir is able to handle the weapon and is eligible to get a licence under the Arms Act.

Son, daughter, wife, or husband are currently regarded as the “legal heir,” and the licence holder may apply to have the licence transferred to them. The licence may be freely transferred to the licence holder’s lawful heir following their death.

In several instances, the licence holder has asked for the licence to be transferred to their brother, sister, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law. These situations occur when the licence holder has moved overseas and is unwilling to keep their licence, or when they do not have any children of their own. Accordingly, it has the licensee’s daughter-in-law, brother, sister, and, depending on the outcome of the case, son, daughter, wife, and husband, to whom the licensee will be able to give his weapon whenever he pleases while he is still living. Subject to receiving a “No Objection Certificate” from other legal heirs, the licence may be transferred to one of the surviving licencee’s heirs upon their death.

Addition to

  • Number of firearms that a licence holder may possess.

Before or at the start of the Arms (Amendment) Act, 1983, a person who possesses more than three firearms under one licence may choose to keep any three of those firearms and turn the remaining firearms over to the nearest police station officer, a licenced dealer, or, in the case of an individual who is a member of the Union armed forces, to the appropriate authority.

Permission To Import & Export Weapons

Any person allowed by the Arms Act to possess such an arm may import and export such an arm into or out of India without a licence if the import-export is for personal use rather than for resale.

If a non-citizen, meaning someone who belongs to another country, is not prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition by that nation’s laws, then he is allowed to bring firearms and ammunition into India in reasonable quantities for use solely for recreational purposes.


A military officer does not require a licence to possess one personal firearm in addition to their service-issue firearm. They must notify their Commissioned Officer (CO) about the firearm and request that the CO record the make, serial number, and other details in their register. After being released from duty, they also need to obtain a licence. The Defence Service Rule discusses this. According to the rule, a commission officer may carry a handgun while serving, while officers from lower ranks may carry a rifle or shotgun without a licence.

Sections 3 and 4 of the Armed Act of 1959 provide that anyone in India who wants to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm may apply for a licence.  The Armed Act contains a punitive sanction for act contravention under Section 41. Enacted to notify in the official gazette, exempt any person or class of individuals or exclude any type of arms from the operation of all or part of the provisions in this act.

The central government has issued a general order under Rule 57(3) of the act, which exempts all junior commission officers, warrant officers, petty officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers of the armed forces—whether active or retired—from paying fees for the issuance or renewal of any licences for sporting guns or rifles with ammunition of reasonable quality.

Section 17 of the Arms Act of 1959 deals with licence variation, suspension, and revocation.

Provision allowing for licence modifications for firearms

Any modification to a firearms licence that deviates from its current terms, usually within specified bounds, is referred to as a variation. With the exception of those that are mandated by the act, the licence authority may change the terms under which a licence has already been granted.

  1. The licence holder is requested to deliver the licence to the licencing body within the allotted time frame by written notice.
  2. After receiving an application from the licence holder, the licencing body may make modifications or alter the licence’s terms outside of those that are required.

The provision allowing for licence suspension or revocation for firearms

A firearms licence suspension refers to a temporary or permanent ban on the possession, use, and ownership of a firearm. Revocation denotes the licence’s complete cancellation. The licencing authority may revoke or cancel a licence holder’s licence or suspend it for as long as it sees fit by issuing a written order.

Requirement for cancellation or suspension

  • If the licencing body is convinced that the licence holder is not allowed to possess or carry such weapons and ammunition under the terms of The Arms Act, 1959, or any other law that is now in effect, then the licence holder cannot hold a firearm licence.
  • if it is determined that the licence holder suffers from a mental illness (mental, lunacy, or any other mental ailment).
  • For any other cause that The Arms Act deems inappropriate.
  • If any licence requirements are broken, including
  • if the licence holder has neglected to provide the licence by the deadline indicated in the notification.
  • On the licence holder’s request, the licencing body may also cancel the licence.
  • A licence suspension or revocation may be ordered in writing by a superior authority over the licencing authority, based on the same grounds that allow the licencing authority to do so.
  • If a licence holder is found guilty, the court may suspend or cancel their licence. With one exception, the suspension or revocation will be null and void if the conviction is overturned on appeal or in any other way.
  • During the trial, the licence holder’s licence may also be suspended or revoked by the appellate court or high court in the exercise of its revision powers.
  • All licences awarded under The Arms Act, 1959 across India, or even a portion of them, may be suspended, or revoked, or the central government may direct the licencing authority to do so by order published in the Official Gazette.

Unless the licencing authority determines that the statement will not be of public interest, it should record all the reasons in short form and deliver it to the holder upon request. This applies to orders for licence variations, suspensions, and revocations.  

The licence holder shall promptly turn over the licence to the authority that has suspended or revoked it, as well as to any other authority designated in the order of suspension or revocation, upon such action.

Adv. Khanak Sharma

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