Cabinet approves tighter arms licensing law

New Delhi, July 15 (Calcutta Tube) The cabinet Thursday approved amendments to an over 40-year-old law to ensure that arms licences are only issued to those who genuinely need them.

The Arms (Amendment) Bill will now be tabled in parliament to amend the Arms Act of 1959 to ‘obviate chances of issuing arms licences to persons whose antecedents are not bonafide, and ensure receipt of police verification report within a period of sixty days,’ an official statement said after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

‘The licensing authority will be obliged to take into consideration the report of the police authorities before grant of an arms licence in each case,’ the statement added.

This will remove a proviso in the act under which the licensing authority can grant an arms licence where the report of the police has not been received within the prescribed time.

However, as the prescribed time ‘has not been specifically defined’ in act, ‘this has led to grant of an arms licence to a persons whose antecedents may not be clear’, the statement said.

‘Considering the importance of the police verification report in the grant of arms licences to any person, it has been decided to delete this provision of the Arms Act and prescribe a period of 60 days for the police authorities to send their report.

‘This will obviate chances of discretion being used by the licensing authority to issue any arms licence without police verification report,’ the statement added.

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