Main Provisions of Arms Act, 1959


Author: Ms. Kashish KhuranaSchool of Law Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal


The Arms Act, 1959 is an act of Parliament of India to consolidate and amend the laws relating to arms and ammunitions in order to curb illegal weapons and violence stemming from them. This act replaced the Arms Act 1878 which was introduced at the time of Lord Lytton.

After the enactment of this act in India, the people were restricted to manufacture, sell, use and store the arms and ammunitions without any license. The Act contains 46 sections covering the acquisition, manufacture, sale, possession, import, and export of arms and ammunition, providing a license, powers and authorities and offences and punishments.


  • No person living in the territory of India has the right to hold the arms and ammunitions without having any license with them.
  • If the provided license is expired, the person holding the license must immediately renew or submit it to the nearby police station. Also if the person is asked to renounce his firearms he must submit it to the nearby police station.
  • In case, if the person holding the license dies, any other person of authority may submit it to the nearby police station.
  • Also, some government officials are provided with rifles for defense and practice purposes. If the authorized persons misuse those arms and ammunition, they would be punished the same as any other person would.
  • Any person manufacturing, selling, buying, storing, importing and exporting them must possess a license for the purpose.
  • No arms can be transferred or sold unless and until the person has a written statement from the magistrate or the official in charge of the nearby police station.
  • Any firearm should not be sold or purchased if any name of the maker is not mentioned on the firearm. No one should remove or alter the name on such firearms. If no mark is found on the firearm, it will be believed to altered or forged.
  • Any person who has not attained the age of majority is incompetent by nature or declared by law cannot have the possession of the firearms.
  • No person has the authority to take the arms out of the country by land, sea or air unless it has the license or the permission from any authority.
  • The Central Government by notification in the official gazette can restrict every person from the usage of firearms, its import, and export.
  • A person should not be restricted to use firearms or provide a license on the mere fact that the person does not have sufficient property. The license provided is valid for three years and can be revoked at any time if any valid ground is found.
  • If any person feels aggrieved by the order of revoking their license can appeal to any appellate authority.
  • Any person suspected of keeping illegal weapons may be arrested by any police officer on record and be brought in front of the magistrate for a final decision.
  • The license and weapon can be seized any time by any police officer if found illegal or license found to be expired. Also, if the misuse of the weapon can lead to a seizure.
  • The Central Government also has the power to direct people not to use weapons in selected areas to maintain peace and harmony in disturbed areas.


  • Any person found manufacturing, selling, importing, exporting, offers, repairs, tests or does similar activities would get imprisonment from three years to seven years or can be fined.
  • If any person sells or transfers the license or the firearm without any information to the magistrate or the police official that even forty-five days before the expiry period of license would get imprisonment of six months and can also be fined up to five hundred rupees.
  • If any person is asked for his name and address refuses to give or provides false information can be imprisoned for six months and fined up to five hundred rupees. 
  • If any weapon is secretly stored without the knowledge of police can get imprisonment up to seven years and fine.
  • A person can be fined up to 10 years for imitating any firearms and also can get fined.
  • A person if found misusing the firearms can also get imprisonment for up to 10 years.
  • Any person found buying unlicensed firearms knowingly may be punishable with imprisonment for up to three years and can also be fined.
  • Any other subsequent crimes done related to firearms may get imprisonment up to six months and fine up to two thousand rupees.


  • The main aim of the Arms Act 1959 was to maintain peace and harmony in society. The act restricted the Indians from freely using the firearms and armaments.
  •  A license is provided to Indians for a period of three years and can be renewed after the expiration period.
  • A person cannot manufacture, sell, import, export or transfer the firearms without any license.
  • A magistrate and an on record police me can anytime seize the license of any person on valid grounds.
  • The punishment for each offence may be fine up to two thousand rupees and imprisonment from six months to ten years varying in different sorts of offences.