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Amendments in Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules, 2016 notified

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Amendments in Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules, 2016 notified

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the Law, key changes.

For Mains: Need for this, significance and relevance of the changes.

Context: Amendments in Arms Act, 1959 and Arms Rules, 2016 notified.

Overview– key changes:

  1. As per the new rules, now International medallists/renowned shooters are allowed to keep additional weapons up to a total of twelve under the exempted category, which earlier was seven.
  2. If a shooter is renowned in one event, he/she can keep maximum eight (previously it was four), if a shooter is renowned in two events he/she can keep maximum ten (previously it was seven) and if a shooter is renowned in more than two events, he/she can keep maximum twelve (previously it was seven) firearms under the exempted category.
  3. Junior target shooters/aspiring shooters are now allowed to possess two weapons (previously one) of any category in which the person is engaged.
  4. Apart from the above exemptions, shooters are entitled to possess two firearms as normal citizens under provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.
  5. Similarly, by amending the provision under Rule 40 of the Arms Rules, 2016 the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased by the shooters during the year for the practice has also been increased considerably.
  6. Through these amendments, it has also been clarified that no licence is required for Indian citizens for acquisitions, possession of small arms falling under the category of curio.
  7. However, appropriate licence as prescribed would be required for use or to carry or transport such small arms.
  8. Without the endorsement of such firearms in the prescribed licence of the owner, no ammunition shall be sold for their use.

About the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019:

  1. It seeks to enhance the punishment for existing offences like illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, etc.; illegal acquiring, possessing or carrying prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition; and illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, conversion, import, export, etc., of firearms.
  2. It also proposes to define new offences and prescribes punishment for them, such as taking away firearms from police or armed forces, involvement in organized crime syndicate, illicit trafficking including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited arms and prohibited ammunition, use of firearms in rash and negligent manner in celebratory gunfire endangering human life, etc.
  3. It seeks to enhance the period of arms license from three years to five years and also to issue arms license in its electronic form to prevent forgery.

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Sources: pib.