Gun law in India

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Indian law allows firearm possession on may-issue basis. With approximately five civilian firearms per 100 people, India is the 120th most armed country in the world.


Prior to the Indian First War Of Independence in 1857, there were few gun control laws in India.[1] The Indian Arms Act, 1878 regulated the manufacture, sale, possession, and carriage of firearms. The act included the mandatory licensing to carry a weapon, but contained exclusions for some groups and persons, for instance "all persons of Kodava (Coorg) race".[2]

In 1959 the Arms Act was passed with new strict rules. It has been amended many times since, most recently in 2016.

Current lawEdit

Indian law divides firearm licenses into two types:

  • Prohibited Bore (PB) includes fully automatic, semi-automatic firearms and some other specified types can only be issued by central government for some groups of people;
  • Non-Prohibited Bore (NBP) includes remaining types of firearms and may be issued by central and state governments for ordinary citizens.

Non-Prohibited Bore LicensesEdit

Law states that license can be issued for anyone who has good reason without stipulating what constitutes a good reason. Typically applicants wanting license for self-defense purposes need to prove danger to their life. Article 14. states that authorities can deny license for unspecified "public peace or for public safety" reasons. They are not obligated to give reason for refusal of application if they deem it to be necessary. Firearm licenses must be renewed every three years. Approximately 50% of the applications are accepted. For example, of the 12.8 million inhabitants, between April 2015 and March 2016 authorities in Mumbai rejected 169 out of 342 firearm applications.[3]

Some local jurisdictions may have additional requirements for granting licenses. For example in 2019 the commissioner of Firozpur district in Punjab ordered that every license applicant must plant at least 10 trees and take photos with them.[4]

Carrying firearmsEdit

Open carry of firearms is prohibited. All firearms must be carried in specially designed holsters.

Firearm possessionEdit

As of 2016 there are 3,369,444 firearm licenses active in India with 9,700,000 firearms registered to them. According to Small Arms Survey there are 61,401,000 illegal firearms in India.

The following is a breakdown of firearm licenses by state:[5]

State Active firearm licenses
Uttar Pradesh 1,277,914
Jammu and Kashmir 369,191
Punjab 359,249
Madhya Pradesh 247,130
Haryana 141,926
Rajasthan 133,968
Karnataka 113,631
Maharashtra 84,050
Bihar 82,585
Himachal Pradesh 77,069
Uttarakhand 64,770
Gujarat 60,784
West Bengal 60,525
Delhi 38,754
Nagaland 36,606
Arunachal Pradesh 34,394
Manipur 26,836
Tamil Nadu 22,532
Odisha 20,588
Assam 19,283
Meghalaya 18,688
Jharkhand 17,654
Mizoram 15,895
Kerala 9,459
Daman and Diu 125
Nagar Haveli 125

Gun crimeEdit

Gun homicides in India by legal and illegal guns

There are around 3.22[6] gun homicides per 100,000 people in India every year. Around 90% of them are committed using illegal guns.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Gun Control and Indian Arms Act 1877 During the Days of the Raj". Knoji.
  2. ^ Punjab (India); Sir Henry Adolphus Byden Rattigan; Alweyne Turner; North-west Frontier Province (India) (1897). The Bengal regulations: the acts of the governor-general in council, and the frontier regulations ... applicable to the Punjab, with notes and an index. Civil and Military Gazette Press. pp. 1189–. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  3. ^ Gupta, Pradeep; Naryan, V (June 12, 2017). "Gun culture spreads in Dombivli: Legal arms used to settle scores".
  4. ^ "Punjab: India state launches 'gun for plants' scheme". BBC. July 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "India has 33.69 lakh gun licences, Uttar Pradesh tops list with 12.77 lakh". HindustanTimes. October 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Murder Rate by Country 2021".
  7. ^ "Crime in India. 2015" (PDF). p. 65.

External linksEdit