As many as 60,911 persons were arrested–almost 167 every day or seven every hour–in 2016, for possessing illegal weapons under the Arms Act, 1959, in India, according to this reply on August 1, 2017, in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament).
“The Arms Act, 1959 has elaborate regulatory provisions, under section 19 to 25 of the Act, to curb illegal trade in firearms,” said Hansraj Gagaram Ahir, minister of state for home affairs in the reply. “Under the Act, in addition to the state police authorities, personnel of central armed police forces have been empowered to search and seize arms and ammunition, illegally held/ traded by any person.”
The Arms Act defines “arms” as articles adapted as weapons for offence or defence, which includes firearms, sharp-edged and other deadly weapons; “ammunition” for firearms such as rockets, bombs, grenades or noxious liquid, gas; and “firearms” include artillery, hand-grenades, riot-pistols or weapons of any kind designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid or gas.
Arrests under the Arms Act increased 5% in 2016 from 57,980 over the previous year.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s hub of illegal weapons
India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh (UP), reported the most (46% or 27,850) arrests in 2016, followed by Madhya Pradesh (9,269), Rajasthan (6,840), West Bengal (3,311) and Bihar (2,821). These five states accounted for 82% of all arrests in 2016.
UP accounted for more than half of all cases registered under the Arms Act between 2010 and 2014, IndiaSpend had reported on October 12, 2015. The state, home to 16.5% of Indians, also accounted for 40% of all gun-violence deaths (6,929) over the same period. Unlicensed arms accounted for 90% of these deaths.
Source: Lok SabhaNote: 2016 are provisional, as data are under clarification
UP and Jammu & Kashmir are the top two states in the country “where respective district administrations have issued more than 3 lakh (300,000) gun licenses”, the Daily Excelsior reported on October 9, 2017.
(Mallapur is an analyst with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)