India has staunchly advocated the policy of non-violence which rose to prominence during the independence struggle. However, both individuals, as well as nations, are inevitably required to be forewarned as well as forearmed in the event of any imminent danger. However, the law must establish a uniform and balanced procedure to ensure that such an opportunity is not abused by the citizens. Accordingly, the legal framework with regard to obtaining a gun license is governed under Sections 3,4,13 – 18 of the Arms Act, 1962 and Arms Rules, 2016. In this regard, this article aims to lay down the application procedure for a gun license in India.
- The preliminary criteria are that the applicant must be a person of sound mind who is at least 21 years of age. All such civilians can apply for Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB) weapons such as handguns of caliber .22,.32,.35 after fulfilling the procedure mentioned under Chapter II and III of the Arms Act, 1959. Section 13 of the Arms Act, 1959 specifically governs the procedure of application. The application form is available at the office of the District Superintendent of Police of each State. The application form is to be submitted to the DCP (Licensing) of the respective locality by the applicant. Furthermore, an online application procedure is also available in several States. Additionally, the Indian Government has established a comprehensive website for application of license which can be found at https://ndal-alis.gov.in/armslicence/applyOnline.do.
- After submission of the application, the police carry out thorough scrutiny of all the details disclosed in the application form including the name, age, address etc. of the applicant. Furthermore, the reason for which license is sought is also examined to check whether it falls within the ambit of justified grounds for granting of the license.
Reasons for granting gun license are provided under Section 35 to 46 of the Arms Rules 2016 as follows:
- For self-defense and protection of life, property and crops from wild animals on the basis of valid reasons and FIR that has already been filed by the applicant.
- A full-time sports person as well as an international sports person visiting India for sports events.
- A license can be granted to a trainee who is above the age of fifteen years but below the age of twenty-one years as well as to a trainer who is an adult.
- Shooting ranges, accredited trainers and shooting sports associations.
- Museums, film, television and theatrical industry.
- Foreign tourists who are visiting India for the purpose of acquisition, possession and export of arms.
- Security and guard keeping jobs only for the purpose of performance of their duty and firemen free zones. 
- In addition to a comprehensive application form, the applicant is also required to furnish certain documents inter alia such as:
- Ration Card
- Voter ID Card
- PAN Card
- Birth Certificate
- Attested copy of Matriculation mark sheet
- Recent electricity bills
- Recent passport size photographs
- Last three years’ income tax returns
- Physical and mental fitness certificate
- Aadhaar Card
Apart from the aforementioned documents, the applicants may be required to submit other documents in original as well as copy format for the perusal of the licensing authority as specified at https://ndal-alis.gov.in/armslicence/applyOnline.do.
- After due compliance with the submission of all the details and documents, the applicant must undergo a personal interview with an officer of DCP Rank of the concerned Commissionerate as the case may be. The license shall be granted only if the officer approves the application after interviewing the applicant.
- After the interview, a report is to be sent by the concerned officer to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and other concerned intelligence agencies. The objective is to probe whether the applicant has any past criminal records. In this pursuit, the local police station may also be directed to investigate regarding the character and behavior of the applicant and to submit a detailed report within a specified period to the licensing authorities. If such a probe results in a favorable outcome, the officer grants a license to the applicant.
- After obtaining approval, the applicant must book the weapon in advance from an authorized dealer of arms. Usually, it takes about two to three months to procure a gun from the factory after advance booking. Additional submission of documents is required in order to procure arms from the factory. As per the amendment of 2019, the maximum number of firearms to be possessed by any person has been reduced from three to two. However, the number of weapons that can be kept by International medalists/Renowned Shooters has been increased to twelve from erstwhile seven under the exempted category.
- The application can be submitted online through a step-by- step procedure as discussed above at https://ndal-alis.gov.in/armslicence/applyOnline.do. Applicants who are individuals, sportspersons, manufacturers etc. have to select their respective category and fill their details. Subsequently, requisite documents can also be uploaded online. The application must be submitted after the payment of requisite fees as prescribed.
Alternatively, Form A of Rule 51 of the Arms Act, 1959 provides the following application form:
Grounds for Variation, Revocation and Suspension of License
- If the licensing authority finds that the license holder is prohibited from acquiring, possessing arms by virtue of any law in force including the Arms Act.
- License holder is of unsound mind or unfit for any other reason.
- In the interest of public safety and peace.
- In case of contravention of any conditions of the license.
- If the license was obtained on the basis of false information or by suppression of material information.
- Upon an application by the license holder to the authority.
- Upon conviction under the Arms Act of 1959 and any Rules made thereunder by a competent court or Appellate Court or a High Court while exercising powers of revision.
- The Central Government may by itself or by direction suspend or revoke the license in any particular locality or the whole country by issuing an order in the Official Gazette. 
Renewal of License
- The license granted is valid only for a period of three years after which it has to be renewed. In order to renew the gun license, the applicant is required to fill a renewal form at https://ndal-alis.gov.in/armslicence/users/transaction/acceptance/getServicePage.do and produce the attested documents that had already been submitted by them at the time of procuring a license.
- Additionally, the license holder will be required to produce the weapon along with the license that had already been issued. The application for renewal must be at least one month prior to the expiry of such license.
- If the license is issued in a different State other than the State where it has already been issued, the applicant will have to fulfill certain requirements such as submission of forms, residential proof, local police statement, No Objection Certificate (NOC) where the license is not valid throughout India etc.
- The online application is available at https://ndal-alis.gov.in/armslicence/users/transaction/acceptance/getServicePage.do wherein the applicant has to select the category to which she belongs such as Individual, Manufacturer etc. In the service drop down menu, the applicant must click on Application for renewal of license. Then, a Unique Id number and other specified details and documents must be entered. Alternatively, the following Form A-3 for renewal of arms license in case of individuals can be filled and submitted:
Despite the risk of misuse, possession of arms by civilians for certain reasonable purposes such as protection of life, crops and sports activities is inevitable. In this regard, the Gun Law regime of India is considered strict but is accused of concentration of arbitrary power in the hands of the licensing authority. Further, the strictness of gun licensing is criticized for being extremely time consuming and being suspicious of its own citizens. While these criticisms stand true to a certain extent, it is pertinent to note that the legal structure governing gun licensing is ever-evolving. Consequently, amendments are constantly being made based on the recent developments in several internal and external factors including inter alia increase in crime rates, foreign policies. Therefore, it is axiomatic that a more balanced approach that delicately balances the interests of license holders, applicants and public safety and security may be expected in the near future.
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Mariya Paliwala, How to get Gun License in India, Ipleaders (Oct. 01, 2019), https://blog.ipleaders.in/how-to-get-the-gun-license-in-india/amp/.
 Apratim De, How to obtain Gun License in India: Full Process, Indian Legal Solution.Com (Jul. 24, 2018), https://indianlegalsolution.com/how-to-obtain-gun-license-in-india-full-process/.
Nupur, How to get a Gun License in India, Informal Newz, https://www.informalnewz.com/how-to-get-a-gun-license-in-india/.
Authored By: Vrinda Bhandarkar, 8th Semester, SDM Law College, Mangalore.