By April 2019, names of all arms license holders - new or old - will be included in a national database and a unique identification number will be issued, the Home Ministry says.
The move is aimed at keeping a tab on authorized private gun holders, many of whom are often found involved in crimes and celebratory firing, that has often lead to deaths.
Every licensing and renewing authority will have to enter the data in the National Database of Arms Licenses system, which will generate a UIN, and with effect from April 1, 2019, any arms license without UIN shall be considered invalid, the ministry said in a notification.
The decision has been taken by exercising powers under Section 44 of the Arms Act, 1959 (54 of 1959) by amending the Arms Rules, 2016. These rules will be called the Arms (Second Amendment) Rules, 2018.
Additionally, any existing licensee holding multiple licenses - under Form III - shall on or before April 1 make an application for grant of a single license in respect of all firearms held by him or her under his or her UIN to the concerned licensing authority.
Where the applicant applying for a license for restricted category of arms or ammunition is also a holder of a license for permissible category, or where the applicant applying for permissible category of arms or ammunition is also a holder of a license for restricted category, the licensing authority concerned shall issue a new license for restricted or permissible category of arms or ammunition under the existing UIN of the licensee, the notification said.
Separate license books will be generated in case of each license, separately for restricted and permissible categories of arms and ammunition with an overall ceiling of three firearms under a single UIN, it said.
Home Ministry officials said the amendments will eliminate the possibilities of issuing arms license to persons whose antecedents are not bona fide.
Under Section 3 of the Arms Act, it is essential to obtain an arms possession license issued by a competent licensing authority, by any person for acquisition, possession or carrying any firearms or ammunition.
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