How to Obtain a Gun License in India

How to Obtain a Gun License in India

In India, the thought of only going into the difficulty of getting a gun license is exasperating, that you may have to go through a long and difficult process and under the constant scrutiny of police and government authorities….Relax, let’s delve into deeper aspects of obtaining a gun license in India.

1.    Introduction to Arms license/Guns license:

First of all, what is a license? According to its dictionary meaning, a license from an authority to own or use something to do a particular thing or carry on a trade. When we talk about a gun license, it is a permit issued by a government authority(typically by police) that allows a licensee to buy, own, possess or carry a firearm often subject to a number of conditions or restrictions especially with regard to storage requirements, completion of firearms course, background check-up, etc.

The firearms/guns in India are strictly regulated by the laws. The Arms act 1959 along with the arm rules 1962 provides for all the provisions regarding the sale, manufacture, possession, acquisition, import-export & transport of arms and ammunition unless a license which is difficult to obtain.

2. What kinds of Arms can be held by the general public in India?

The Arms act 1959, divides the firearm license into two types-

•    Prohibited Bore (PB): It includes automatic& semi-automatic firearms which are prohibited for use by the civil public and only issued by the Government. Its specified group of persons is allowed to use such.

•    Non-Prohibited Bore: It includes the remaining type of firearms which do not fall in the above category and are permitted to be issued to the general public by Federal& state governments. However, section 14 of the Act provides that the government may refuse to give a license if it thinks that granting a license will be against public policy or contains risk to public safety. Thus, it is not obligatory upon the State or Federal Govt to issue gun license compulsorily.

3. How did it all start?

Ever wondered what would be the reason for the Government of India to make such stringent regulations for the permission of weapon licenses ?... Actually, it is a very interesting fact in history that the Arms Act was introduced by British Raj in 1878 to limit the manufacture, sale, and use of arms and ammunition so to suppress the rebellion by Indian rebels because the people then especially in parts of Rajasthan had the knowledge of metal-extraction and making arms out of them could be a possible future risk for the British. Later, the act was amended and re-introduced in1959 after independence.

4.    What makes you eligible for holding a gun-license in India?

Every state has its own rules& regulations regarding permitting a gun-license. However, the following are some common factors among them-

  •     He or She must be a citizen of India and must show the identification documents while applying for a firearm license.

  •     He/she should have completed at least 18 years of age. (16 years of age in case of shooting sports)

  •     The purposes for which a gun license could be granted are limited, which  include:

1.    Self-Defense: This is one of the most common reasons for obtaining a gun –license nowadays. But, the applicant needs to show a strong reason for self- defense should have an FIR lodged prior to the application of license.

2.    Sports Training: For obtaining a license under this category, one needs to be a full-time sportsperson and gets a gun for only sports purposes.

3.    Crop Protection: This is one of the reasons for the gun license provided in the arms act 1959.

4.    Security Agencies: Though this also comes under the threat to life and property rules regarding this are stricter than the first category and the guns could be used for limited purposes only.

5.    Training in Gun-handling: Now it is mandatory for every person to undergo training which involves basic training in basic arms & ammunition practices, safe handling and carrying procedures, carrying & storage of arms and ammunition and their transportation, before presenting their application.

6.    An Overseas Citizen of India can apply for a gun license in India if he gives proof of his permanent place of residence &satisfies the authorities the reason for obtaining a license.

5.    Grant of Guns through Ancestral Heirloom:

Having a gun with a gun license has been considered a “privilege“under Arms Act 1959. However, holding PB/NPB Weapons of an existing licensee could be transferred to his legal heir. Here, Legal heir includes wife, husband, son or daughter of the existing licensee and the weapon could be transferred without any objection on his death subject to the condition that he is capable of handling the weapon if the weapon has been held by the existing licensee for 25 years or he has attained an age of 70 years.


1. An application for obtaining a license should be made to the licensing authority along with the prescribed fee. For, people living in metro-cities need to apply to their respective D.C.P.(Licensing). And for those living in non-metro cities need to apply to their local SDM( Sub-divisional Magistrate).

2. Verification Procedure: This is basically a police verification report. On receipt of the application, the licensing authority shall call for a preliminary inquiry about the applicant’s background, any past criminal records(if any) or change in residences if any during the last 5 years. It is most probable that people with past criminal records or immoral character will not be granted licenses.

3.Health Check-up & Personal Interview: After verification from documents and police reports, there will be a health checkup by a certified physician for knowing whether there is any physical or mental illness. Next in the line, there will be a personal interview with the DCP. After this,the DCP will send reports to the crime branch as well as the national crime records bureau.

If everything is found to be genuine and correct, a civilian will get a gun license. On getting the license the licensee shall have to pre-order gun from an authorized gun dealer. The license shall be valid in the operative state only.


i.    Copy of proof of residence (ration card).

ii.    Voter identification.

iii.    Last year’s income tax return/salary slip

iv.    Proof of educational qualifications( self-attested)

v.    Physical –fitness certificate

vi.    Proof of birth(birth certificate/school leaving certificate)

vii.    Supporting documents to justify the need for an arms license(FIR report/sports certificate etc.)

Also now the whole process has been made time-bound.For eg. The police verification must be done within 3o days whereas if the application is to be refused it must be done so within a period of 60 days.

8.  Circumstances related to variation, suspension & revocation of a license:

Under section 17 of the arms act 1959, the licensing authority may make changes in the license in the form of variation, suspension& revocation of the license. Any variation in gun license means any alteration in the existing license with which it was issued. In such a situation, a licensing authority may pass orders after giving notice to the holders to submit the license within the prescribed time to make changes. Likewise, the holder may request the licensing authority to make changes in the conditions of license.

9. Provisions regarding suspension or revocation of a license: 

Suspension of a firearm license means prohibiting either temporarily or whereas Revocation means total cancellation of the license. The licensing authority may by order in writing suspend the license of a license holder for a period as it may think fit to it or revoke (cancel) the concerned license.A license could be suspended or revoked on following grounds as per the Arms Act 1959-

•    If the licensing authority is satisfied that the license holder is prohibited from holding the firearm license under The Arms Act, 1959 or any other law that is in force for time being for acquiring, having the possession or carrying of such arms and ammunition.

•    If the license holder is found to be of unsound mind (mental, lunacy or any other mental disorder).

•    For any other reason provided under the relevant Arms Act.

•    If any condition subject to which the license was provided is violated, or

•    If the license holder has failed to deliver the license within the time specified in the notice under section 17 of the Act.

•    The licensing authority may also revoke the license on the application of the license holder.

•    An authority superior to the licensing authority may by an order in writing suspend or revoke a license on the grounds provided under the act on which the licensing authority may suspend or revoke the license.

•    Any Court convicting the holder of a license can suspend or revoke the license of such holder the only exception being if the conviction is set aside through an appeal or otherwise such suspension or revocation will be void.

•    When the appellate court or the High court exercise their power of revision they also have the power to suspend or revoke the license of the license holder during the trial.

•    The central government may by order in the Official Gazette, suspend or revoke the license or direct the licensing authority to do so for all or any license granted under the Arms Act, 1959 throughout India or even in any part of it.

•    Whenever any licensing authority suspends or revokes any license, it should record all the reasons for doing so and provide to the holder such reasons on demand unless the authority feels that the statement will not be in the public interest.  On the suspension or revocation of the license, the license holder is supposed to surrender the license immediately to the authority by whom it has been suspended or revoked or to any other authority as specified in the order of suspension or revocation.

10.    The time period of validity and renewal of license: As per the Arms act of 1959, once the firearms license is obtained it will be valid for three years. During the procedure for renewal for arms license, the following documents must be presented:

•    Original arms license

•    Weapon to be produced for inspection

•    Proof of residence( electricity bill, telephone bill, water bill, driving license, passport, etc)  two self-attested copies of any of two of them.

11. Exemption to  DefensePersonnels: Under Rule 57(3) of the arms act 1959, the central government has issued a general order that all junior commissioned officer, warrant officer, petty officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of armed forces whether in service or retired are exempted from payment of fees for grant or renewal of any license for the sporting gun or rifle with reasonable quality of ammunition.

12. Specific provisions Regarding Delhi: As provided earlier, those persons aspiring to obtain a gun-license in Delhi, need to present an application to Additional Commissioner of Police(A.D.C.P) with requisite fees.

    Time limit for the acquisition of a firearm (GPP): A time period of 2 years has been prescribed in rule 18 of the Arms Rules, 2016 in both the situations, which is extendable by another one year.

    Procedure to obtain a fresh arms license: The applications for the grant of Arms Licenses are submitted in the office of DCP/Licensing, at 1st Floor, Police Station Defense Colony New Delhi (near Mool Chand Flyover) by the applicant or through his representative along with the following documents in Delhi.

13.    Purchase the weapon after the issue of Arms License?

after the issue of license the weapon prescribed in Col. 5 can be purchased from any authorized dealer/authorized licensee in Delhi if the licensee wishes to purchase the weapon from outside Delhi he/she has to obtain NOC from Counter No.5 of the office and Travel License from the concerned D.M. After purchase of weapon it has to be produced for inspection for getting the entry made in the license booklet.

•    Fee for renewal of license: Following is the list of fee structure

for renewal of gun-license in Delhi-


(3 Years)
(3 Years)
Late Fees
(Per Year)
(Per Year)     

Revolver/Pistol/Repeating Rifle.30 
Gun/.22 Rifle/Air RifleRs.80/- 
M.L. Gun, Sword, Bayonet, Dagger and SpearRs.20/-Rs.15/- 
Duplicate license 
Rs 5/- Rs.5/- 



The process of getting a gun-license is not that difficult, though it depends upon a case-to-case basis. If their genuine person wants to obtain a gun-license who is eligible and has maintained a clean track of criminal records, he needs to get proper knowledge of the procedure and can seek assistance from agencies who have got years of experience and have expertise in this field, one of such being estartindia.com, etc. And then you are good to go!


eStartIndia Team

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