Even in the current scenario, the right to own a gun is not guaranteed by the law, but
acquiring a firearm licence in the country is not that tough from the authorities, except the hard part is to convince the license issuing establishments.
Switzerland-based Small Arms did a worldwide survey in 2017 of all countries with the most
guns per capita and it expectedly found the USA, securing the top position in the list. The survey revealed that the world’s biggest arms manufacturer U.S. had 121
guns/firearms for every 100 residents. Yemen secured second position with 53 guns, followed by Switzerland (46 guns), Finland (45 guns), Serbia (38 guns),
Cyprus (37 guns) and Saudi (35 guns) behind every 100 compatriots. India came at 120th place by having 5.3 guns behind 100 residents. According to its finding,
out of 134 crore population in India, there were 70 million estimated firearms in civilians’ possession, out of which only 97,00,000 were registered while a
whopping 60 million arms were unregistered.
To have effective control over the arms and ammunitions, the union government barely brought
changes in the six-decade-old Act, until the present government did this in December last year. In order to control the use and possession of arms, to reduce
their rash and illegal usage, which can endanger another human being, the Arms (Amendment) Bill 2019, was introduced in the Parliament in December 2019 and was also
passed. Now, under the revised Arms Act, 1959, one person is allowed to have only one firearm, instead of three as earlier. But simultaneously, the
duration of the validity of a firearm license has been extended from three years to five years. Those who own more than two firearms will have to deposit the
third one with the police station concerned or authorised gun dealers.
Besides, the Arms Act bans the use, transfer, conversion, testing, proofing, manufacture or
sale of firearms without a licence and prohibits the shortening of firearm barrels or conversion of imitation firearms into firearms without a license.
The Arms Bill additionally bans the procurement of unlicensed firearms and the conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license. The new
legislation has a provision for life imprisonment for those who snatch or loot arms and ammunitions from police or other security forces.
The amended act, however, accords special status to a sportsperson who needs firearms and
ammunitions for practice and participating in tournaments, a move that has won accolades from the movers and shakers of the country.