Process to Get Arms License
It is not United States of America where thinking of acquiring a firearm and actually getting one are equally easy. It is India where you may just end up giving up the idea of holding a firearm because of the tedious process involved in getting one. On top of that, the amount of money you need to shell out to bribe the officials and the type of questions you need to face are simply unbearable. Still, if you are hell bent on getting a firearm, here is how you need to proceed:
Procedure Guide for Arms Licence
- Get an application form from licensing authority.
- Fill up the application form with accurate details and in the exact form as mentioned in the form.
- You may or may not need to pay fees. If you are to pay a fees, the amount and the method of payment will be mentioned as well. You need to follow instructions and make a payment accordingly. The fee is usually within ₹ 10 and ₹ 100 range depending on the type of firearm you are looking for.
- Once licensing authority gets the application with the necessary fee (if applicable), he will summon the OC of the police station under whose jurisdiction your residence address falls.
- The OC will be asked to provide a detailed report on the application. Put in other words, there will be a police enquiry and the police will conduct a background check on you. The police will be tasked with the responsibility of finding out whether the reasons mentioned by you for holding a firearm are valid and true or not.
- The OC will be provided a certain time frame to submit the detailed report.
- Once the OC provides the report, the licensing authority will then issue the license or reject the application based on the report.
- In case the OC fails to provide the necessary report within the time frame allotted to him, the licensing authority may end up issuing license or rejecting the application at his discretion.
Well, that’s pretty much the process of getting arms license but hey, do you really think it is going to be that simple? Not really! The police will be grinding you with questions that you probably didn’t even dream of facing. On top of that, they are pretty quick at spreading out their hands, asking for money pretty shamelessly. Corruption is rampant in India and such monetary demands should not come as a surprise. Police has a record of asking for money even for passport verification. In this case, you are up for a firearm which is a something that no one really asks for on a daily basis. So, be ready for meet some outrageous demands.
What types of firearms can you possess?
Now that we know the procedure of applying for an arms license, let us take a look at the types of arms that you are entitled to get.
In case you are looking for AK47, SLR rifles or any other assault rifle, LMG, HMG, sniper rifles, grenade launcher guns etc., you are pretty much doomed. Not only will the authorities decline your application, they may even go to the extent of setting an inquiry commission. Why so? That’s because, as per Arms Act, citizens cannot hold any other type of firearm apart from:
- A gun with smooth bore and a barrel length of at least 20 inches – this can be used for sports or self-defense.
- A gun with muzzle-loading design – this can be used only for crop protection.
- A bore rife of .22 – for target practice only in a rifle association or rifle club that operates with a central government authorization.
- An air rifle – for target practice only in a rifle association or rifle club that operates with a central government authorization.
Any other form of firearm possession is prohibited in Republic of India for any citizen.
Even for holding these pretty much obsolete firearms, you need to have a very very strong reason that supports your application.
Conditions under which firearm license application can be rejected
Okay, you need to know that just because you have applied for a license and with a reason you think is valid enough for holding a firearm doesn’t entitle you to hold a firearm. It is up to the licensing authority to decide whether your application will be accepted or not and whether your cited reason is strong enough or not. Here are the conditions under which your license application can be rejected:
- If you are asking for a firearm that is listed as prohibited item.
- If the authorities think that you are mentally misbalanced. For instance, if you have any prior history of attempting suicide or if you have any kind of mental disease like schizophrenia, you can forget about getting an arms license in India.
- If you are within a time frame in which any one of the Indian laws prohibit you from holding a firearm, your application will be rejected.
- If your cited reason is not good enough in eyes of the authorities or is deemed unfit under Arms Act, your application will be rejected.
- If licensing authority thinks that arming you with a firearm can compromise public peace and public security.
Licensing authority too has some restrictions
According to Arms Act, licensing authority has no right to reject your license application on the ground that you do not possess a property big enough.
If the authority is declining your license application, the authority is mandated to write down the reasons for which the application was canceled. However, the authority also has the right to not write down the reasons if it thinks that making the reasons for declining the application public can cause chaos.
How long does the license remain active?
Assuming that you have managed to acquire a license and also managed to buy a gun and bullets, your license will stay active for 3 years. Unless you do something really stupid that will force the authorities to revoke the license immediately, you can enjoy your firearm for 3-year period without any interruptions.
After 3 years however, the license has to be renewed. Once renewed, the license will remain active for another 3 years. You can keep renewing the license every three years.
Just remember that the licensing authority may actually grant the license for a shorter period of time. This will happen only if the authority thinks that you should not be granted a license for a period of 3 years. If at all the authority decides to truncate the time frame, proper reasons are to be cited and written down.
Well, that’s pretty much the basics. We have covered the primary points that are important. In case you want to know further details like process of surrendering a firearm, or transferring the license from owner who has just died to his or her children, punishments you need to face if you use the firearms unlawfully etc., feel free to drop a request in the comments section and we shall create some articles on them.