Arms manufacturers to be allowed to enhance production to cater to 35 lakh licensees

New Delhi: Arms manufacturers will henceforth be allowed to enhance annual production of firearms and ammunition, which will mostly cater to the 35 lakh private gun licence holders.

Acording to the latest Arms (Amendment) Rules, 2022, the arms manufacturers, however, will have to submit online every month details of the firearms manufactured, sold or transferred or consumed for the month.

The home ministry issued the new rules through a gazette notification on Thursday.

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“The manufacturer who has been issued licence in Form VII under these rules shall be permitted to have enhanced annual production of firearms or ammunition or caliber wise revision of his licensed capacity by giving intimation to the licensing authority and also to the state government concerned within ninety days from the end of the financial year and for which no further endorsement on the licence as to capacity shall be required,” the notification said.

While applying, the manufacturer has to submit detailed proposal for enhancement of manufacturing capacity or caliber wise revision of licenced capacity, project outlays, means of finance and justification for economic viability and market demand projections, duly certified by the authorised signatory of the company.

Monthly online returns, detailing the production, sold, transfer and consumed shall be submitted by the manufacturer by close of business hours of the last day of the month, the notification said.

Prior approval of the licensing authority will be mandatory for any change in control, either directly or indirectly, of the company or in case of any change in shareholding or beneficial interest in the shareholding, resulting into dilution of promoters shareholding below 10 per cent.

However, prior approval will not be required if there is increase in shareholding of a shareholder, who held less than 10 per cent in the share capital of the company, to 10 per cent or more provided that for transfer of share holding between the two promoters which is already approved by the licensing authority.

If any circumstances occur which prevent a licensee to submit online returns, the local licensing authority shall be informed immediately in order to establish alternative means to submit the monthly returns, it said.

According to an estimate, India has a total of around 35 lakh gun licences.

Thirteen lakh people have licences to carry weapons in Uttar Pradesh, followed by militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, where 3.7 lakh people possess arms licences, most of which were taken in the name of personal security.

Punjab, which witnessed terrorism in 1980s and 1990s, has around 3.6 lakh active gun licences, most of which were issued during the two decades wherein militancy had engulfed the state.

The data shows that a total of 94,400 arms licences were renewed with all India permission between January 2018 and December, 2020 of which 19,238 were in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Jammu and Kashmir (14,172 gun licences) and Haryana (12,230 gun licences).

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