In a bid to check proliferation of both legal and illegal weapons, the government has decided to review the law for granting licences to individuals and keep a database of those issued across the country.
The Home Ministry says proliferation of arms, whether licensed or illegal, vitiates the law and order situation and holding of sophisticated weapons by conflicting parties directly contributes towards lethality of violent acts.
“Therefore, in principle, proliferation of arms needs to be curbed. In this context, there is a compelling need to review the provisions of Arms Act/Arms Rules with regard to grant of licences for possession of arms and ammunition by individuals,” says the draft - Arms and Ammunition Policy - prepared by the ministry.
Applications will only be considered from persons, who may face or perceive grave and imminent threat to their lives, for which the licensing authority will obtain an assessment of the threat angle through police authorities.
Section 13(2A) of the Arms Act empowers the licensing authority not to wait for the police report, if the same is not received within the prescribed time. The government proposed to delete this provision and decided that no arms licence will be issued without police verification.
The Home Ministry has also decided to include a provision obliging the licensing authority to maintain a database and to share it with the Central government which will also maintain a national database.
At present, there is no provision in the Arms Act/Arms Rule requiring a licensing authority to maintain a comprehensive and complete database of all licences issued.
Accordingly, a provision for a database will be made by amending the Arms Rules. National database, including data on Prohibited Bore (PB) weapons, will be maintained centrally by MHA.
It has been decided that applications for grant of arms license for PB weapons may be considered from the following category of persons alone:
(i) Those persons who face grave and imminent threat to their lives by mere reason of being residents of a geographical area where terrorists are most active or are held to be prime ‘targets’ in the eyes of terrorists or are known to be inimical to the aims and objects of the terrorists and as such face danger to their lives.
(ii) Those Government officials who by virtue of the office occupied by them or the nature of duties performed by them or in due discharge of their official duty have made themselves targets in the eyes of terrorists and are prone to terrorist attack.
(iii) Those MPs and MLAs including non-officials/private persons who by virtue of having been closely or actively associated with anti-terrorist programmes and policies of the government or by mere reason of their holding views, political or otherwise, not to the liking of the terrorists, have rendered themselves open to attack by the terrorists.
(iv) The family members/kith and kin of those who by the very nature of their duties or performance or positions occupied in the government (past or present) or even otherwise for known/unknown reasons have been rendered vulnerable and have come to be regarded by the terrorists as fit targets for elimination.