How to get Arms License in India ?

Author : Eshika Singla


Arms license in India is governed by Arms Act of 1959. It’s a long and tedious process to apply for arms license in India. A person applying for arms license must prove that there exists a threat to their life. All these are basic requirement which one must fulfill before applying for arms license in India. The term ‘arms’ can be defined as articles of any shape or size which can be used as weapon to harm a person or cause a serious injury but does not includes any kind of article which is designed for the purpose of agriculture or domestic use such as lathi, walking stick or weapons which cant be used for any other purpose than toys or as serviceable weapons[1].


In order to apply for gun license in India there are certain necessary conditions that needs to be fulfilled. A civilian in India may apply for license of gun on the grounds of self-defence, sports and corp protection.

For example-

  • License for defence against wild animals that are threat to human life.
  • License for sports shooting associations.
  • License for shooting ranges.
  • License to accredited trainers.
  • License for arms and ammunition for films, theatricals and televisions etc.

All these are some of the valid grounds for a civilian applying for arms license in India. However, procedure to apply for it remains same in all the cases irrespective of the ground mentioned.


Noe even before a person could file application for obtaining license the three conditions that he must fulfill are-

  • A person should not be less that 21 years of age.
  • A person should be of sound mind
  • He/ she must have a valid ground for acquiring the same.

There is a specific procedure laid down that should be followed for getting arms license in India. The steps to be followed for getting arms license in India are listed below.

  1. File application to authority- Procedure to file application is laid down under section 13(1) of Arms Act 1959. Along with application a person must also pay the prescribed fees.
  • Call for the report – Police verification before grant of license in very necessary. License authority under section 13(2) of the Arms Act 1959 will ask for the detailed report of the person from nearest police station within the prescribed time limit. Further on account any kind of failure on the part of police officer. The complete discretion lies in the hands of license authority, they may either grant the license or reject the application.
  • Purpose of license- Depending upon the grounds of applying license, a license granted may also vary. If a person is applying on the ground of sports and corp protection then in such a case muzzle loading gun[2] license can be granted. On the contrary in case of a person applying on the ground of self-defence, he may get license for smooth bore guns[3].
  • Satisfaction of licensing authority- Lat but the most important step is the satisfaction of licensing authority. After following the entire procedure when license authority feels satisfied with the grounds mentioned in the application and on receiving the police report they may grant or say issue license to the applicant.


State government issues license in this regard and district magistrate renews them. A gun dealer in order to open gun shop is required to fill form VIII od Arms Act and also if he further wished to extend services in repairing these arms, he is required to fill form IX/IX-A which ever is applicable.


A person can hold more than 1 gun on a single license. However, at a time he can hold only 3 firearms. There is a restriction to this although a person is holding them on the same license but each of them should be separately endorsed from license authority.


Therefore, we can conclude that arms law in India are quite stringent and lengthy. This may be the reason that it leads to lot of rebuttals and debates from time to time.

[1] Section 2(c) of Arms Act 1959

[2] It is a small arm of artillery piece that has rifled barrel rather than a smoothbore, Wikipedia

[3] It refers to a weapon that has barrel without rifling, Wikipedia