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Gun Licensing

2023 MAR 16

Preliminary   > Polity   >   Miscellaneous   >   Miscellaneous

Why in news?

  • The Punjab government has cancelled 813-gun licenses as part of its efforts to clamp down on the “gun culture” in the state.
  • Previously, the Punjab government had asked for the removal of content glorifying violence, drugs, and liquor from YouTube and other social media platforms.

Legal framework for gun licensing in India:

  • The Indian Arms Act of 1959 stipulates that no one can acquire, possess or carry firearms without a license.
  • The Act bars one person from carrying more than three firearms (now amended to just one firearm)
  • Exceptions:
    • One can carry more firearms 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 Indian 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.

Criteria for granting license:

  • A license can only be granted for purposes of self-defence, crop protection, or sports.


  • Applications for the grant of arms license for NPB weapons are dealt with by the State Government/DM concerned, based on background checks by local police.
  • Period of Licence:
    • Five years.

Add ons:

  • As per Arms Rules, 2016 >> applying for an arms license required one to complete a safety training course involving safe handling and carrying procedures.


Consider the following statements:

1. Indian Arms Act of 1959 allows Indian citizens aged 18 years and above to get Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB) guns

2. A gun license issued is valid for five years

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2