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Govt notifies new Arms Rules; leniency to people in militancy-hit areas

Safe use and storage of firearms, provisions for granting restricted category of arms to those living in militancy-hit areas and a decision on application for arms licence within two months are part of the new rules issued by the central government.

According to the Arms Rules, 2016, which supersedes the Arms Rules, 1962, every person applying for an arms licence or a rifle club or association or firing range or staff employed by such club or a manufacturer or dealer shall be required to complete the arms and ammunition safety training course.

The training course involves basic arms and ammunition safety practices, including safe handling and carry procedures, firing techniques and procedures, care of arms and ammunition and their safe storage and transportation.

The rules say that the designated authority will consider granting the restricted or permissible arms to those who face grave and anticipated threat to their life by reason of being resident of a geographical area or areas where militants, terrorists or extremists are most active, and those being the prime target in the eyes of militants, any government official, any MP, MLA or their family members.

The licensing authority, after considering the application and on being satisfied that the applicant has fulfilled the eligibility conditions, shall grant or refuse to grant a licence of arms or ammunition within a period of sixty days of the receipt of the police report, the new rules say.

The Arms Rules also say that the applicant must furnish Aadhar Card as identification proof and in case the applicant does not have it, a written declaration in the form of an affidavit to be submitted along with an alternative identification proof which may include passport or voter’s identification card or permanent account number (PAN) card or identity card issued to the employees.

The holder of a licence of permissible category of firearms may apply for grant of additional licence for any two of his close relatives who are not in possession of any licence and who are residing with him at the address given in the licence, to possess, carry or use any of the arms or ammunition covered by his licence and the authority shall grant a licence to such additional licensee if the eligibility conditions under the Act and these rules are fulfilled by the said additional licensee and there are no adverse remarks in the police report.

Criteria to be followed by licensing authorities for grant of a licence specified in rules, prescribed time limit for police verification defined in rules, quantity of ammunition defined for individuals enhanced and provisions for grant of licences to legal heirs have been introduced in the draft.

Restrictions on carrying of firearms in public places have been introduced, provisions for licence for training and target practice made elaborative, licences for sport shooting associations and clubs introduced and firing ranges brought arms licensing regime.
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