Blank Firing Gun Laws in India: A Comprehensive Guide

Blank firing guns in India are regulated under the Arms Act of 1959. These guns are considered firearms and require a license for ownership and possession. The licensing process involves a thorough background check and adherence to specific regulations. The sale, purchase, or possession of blank firing guns without a valid license is illegal and can lead to legal consequences.

Overview of Blank Firing Guns

Blank firing guns have gained popularity worldwide as they are widely used in theatrical settings and for recreational purposes. In India, these guns are strictly regulated to ensure public safety and maintain law and order. Here’s an overview of the blank firing gun laws in India:

  • Arms Act 1959: This act covers all aspects of firearms, including blank firing guns. It laid the foundation for strict gun control laws and has been amended many times, most recently in 2019.
  • Licensing: A valid license is required to own and possess a blank firing gun in India. Obtaining a license is a time-consuming process and can take years.
  • Training: Prospective owners must undergo proper training and pass exams before they are issued a license for a blank firing gun.
  • Usage restrictions: These guns can only be used in designated areas like shooting ranges or theatrical settings, and owners are subject to heavy penalties if they violate these restrictions.
  • Air guns: Even air guns, which are less lethal than blank firing guns, now require an arms license in India.

Types of Blank Firing Guns

Blank firing guns are increasingly popular in India for various purposes such as prop usage in films, safety training, and sports events. However, recent changes in gun laws mandate that these firearms now require a license. In this listicle, we will discuss different types of blank firing guns available in the country.

  • Firstly, the 9mm blank pistols are the most common type used by professional trainers and film crews. They closely resemble real firearms, providing an authentic experience without the dangers of live ammunition.
  • Secondly, revolvers offer a distinct style and design, making them a popular choice for collectors and enthusiasts. These guns use .380 caliber blank rounds, generating a loud bang and a realistic feel when fired.
  • Paintball markers are another type of blank firing guns that use non-lethal, paint-filled pellets as ammunition. They are primarily used for recreational purposes or professional training exercises, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Finally, airsoft guns are becoming popular among hobbyists due to their close resemblance to real firearms. They use 6mm plastic BBs as ammunition and are extensively used in competitive shooting sports like airsoft matches. These guns provide an engaging and realistic shooting experience without posing a significant threat to the user.

Blank Firing Gun Laws in India: An Overview

Shooting range owner John Deloca aims his pistol at his range in Queens, New York on June 23, 2022. – The US Supreme Court ruled June 23, 2022 that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a handgun in public, a landmark decision with far-reaching implications for states and cities across the country confronting a surge in gun violence. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Blank firing guns, also known as non-lethal firearms, are designed to emit a loud noise without firing any projectiles. In India, these guns are subject to certain regulations under the Arms Act of 1959.

  • Firstly, to possess a blank firing gun, one must obtain a firearm license. This can be done by applying to the concerned district authorities, who issue licenses for Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB) weapons, including blank firing guns.
  • Secondly, individuals applying for a firearm license must undergo arms and ammunition safety training courses. These courses cover basic knowledge of arms and ammunition, safe handling techniques, and other relevant information.
  • Lastly, individuals must be at least 21 years old to apply for a firearm license, and they must provide sufficient proof for needing a firearm, such as self-defense, crop protection, or sports purposes. Violating the Arms Act can lead to legal consequences, including imprisonment and fines.

The Arms Act, 1959, and its Provisions

The Arms Act, 1959, is a crucial piece of legislation in India that governs the acquisition, possession, sale, and use of firearms. Here are some essential provisions of the act:

  • The Arms Act was enacted to replace the Indian Arms Act of 1878, which was implemented during British rule in India. The aim of the act was to regulate the availability of arms and ammunition among Indian citizens.
  • The act empowers the government to issue licenses for the possession of firearms. These licenses are classified into two categories: Prohibited Bore (PB) and Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB). The central government issues the PB licenses, while both central and state governments can issue NPB licenses.
  • Authorities may deny issuing a license if they feel that it might disrupt public peace or safety. They are not obligated to provide reasons for their refusal, and only around 50% of applications for licenses are accepted.
  • Licenses for possession of firearms must be renewed every three years. Indian citizens aged 21 and above are eligible to apply for a gun license, provided they can demonstrate a need for self-defence or any threat to their life.
  • The act also outlines various penalties and punishments for offences related to arms and ammunition. These penalties may range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offence.
  • While the right to bear arms is not explicitly mentioned in the Indian constitution, the Arms Act, 1959, recognizes it as a legal right.

Arms Rules, 2016

India has strict regulations concerning firearms, including blank firing guns, under the Arms Rules, 2016. These rules encompass various aspects of firearm and ammunition usage, categorizing and controlling various types of weapons.

  • One such category is blank firing firearms, which are defined as guns capable of firing a blank cartridge. A blank cartridge is a cartridge without a bullet or any other projectile, often used for re-enactments or movie purposes.
  • Licenses are required for the manufacturing, sale and possession of blank firing firearms. These licenses ensure that people using these firearms are aware of the rules and responsibilities associated with their use.
  • Air weapons, including those that fire on the pressure of compressed air or other gases, also fall under the 2016 Arms Rules. This brings them under the same scrutiny and control as other firearms, including the need for licenses and adherence to safety protocols.
  • Antique small arms, although still regulated, are treated differently under the Arms Rules 2016. These firearms, manufactured before 1899, are considered collectibles and curios, with special provisions and regulations in place for their safe and responsible use.

Authorities Responsible for Regulating Blank Firing Guns

Authorities in India play a crucial role in regulating the use of blank firing guns to ensure public safety. The Arms Act of 1959, amended multiple times since then, outlines strict guidelines for gun licensing and usage in the country.

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) oversees the implementation of these laws and frequently issues directives to maintain control over firearms, including blank firing guns. State governments also contribute by enforcing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and issuing firearm licenses in their respective jurisdictions.
  • The District Magistrates (DMs) and local law enforcement agencies are responsible for conducting tests on air guns, blank firing guns and other firearms to ensure compliance with national regulations. These entities work collectively to maintain an effective framework for preventing misuse of firearms in India.

Possession and Ownership of Blank Firing Guns in India

Blank firing guns in India are becoming increasingly popular, yet the laws surrounding their possession and ownership are complex. Here are some important things to know about owning these types of firearms in India:

  • Blank firing guns are now considered firearms: According to recent draft rules, blank firing guns, firearm replicas, and paintball markers are now included in the definition of arms. This means that possession or sale of these items may be subject to the same regulations as traditional firearms.
  • Licensing is required: As a result of their classification as firearms, blank firing guns now require an arms license. Failure to obtain a proper license may result in fines, imprisonment, or both.
  • Legal limits on firearm ownership apply: Owning a blank firing gun will now count towards the legal limit of three firearms per individual. If a person owns multiple blank firing guns or a mix of traditional firearms and blank firing guns, they may be required to declare and deposit the excess firearms.
  • Increased enforcement and potential harassment: Blank firing gun owners may face increased scrutiny from law enforcement, especially if they are caught with an unlicensed or improperly licensed firearm.
  • Impact on manufacturers and small businesses: As a result of the classification change, small-scale airgun manufacturers in India may be adversely affected due to difficulties in producing .177 caliber barrels.
  • Be informed and cautious: If you own or plan to purchase a blank firing gun in India, it is essential to stay informed about the current firearms laws and follow the necessary steps to obtain a license.

Carrying and Transportation of Blank Firing Guns in India

Carrying and transporting blank firing guns in India are subject to strict regulations. Here’s a quick overview of some important aspects you should be aware of:

  • Blank firing guns fall under the Arms Act of 1959, which governs the acquisition, possession, sale, purchase, manufacturing, transportation, import, and export of all types of arms and ammunition in the country.
  • To legally own and transport a blank firing gun, you must have a valid firearms license issued by the appropriate district authorities.
  • Blank firing guns are generally classified as Non-Prohibited Bore (NPB) firearms, which include guns of caliber .35, .32, .22, and .380. These can be owned by any civilian who meets the necessary criteria.
  • To apply for a gun license, you must be above the age of 21 and provide sufficient proof for your need for the firearm, such as self-defense, crop protection, or sports.
  • Once you have a valid license, ensure that you follow all stipulated safety precautions, handling techniques, and transportation rules to avoid severe penalties for violating gun laws in India.

Penalties and Consequences for Violating Blank Firing Gun Laws in India

In India, there are strict laws governing the use, possession, and selling of blank firing guns. Violating these laws can lead to severe penalties and consequences.

  • Firstly, individuals caught using or possessing blank firing guns without a proper license can face imprisonment ranging from six months to seven years, along with heavy fines. This is due to their classification under the Arms Act of 1959.
  • Secondly, any person selling or transferring blank firing guns without valid authorization can also be subjected to imprisonment lasting from three years to life, in addition to monetary fines.
  • Lastly, repeatedly violating these regulations may result in permanent revocation of the individual’s firearms license, banning them from owning or possessing any type of firearm in the future.


In conclusion, the recent changes in gun laws in India have led to a mixed reaction among citizens. On the one hand, increasing the period of validity for arms licenses has been seen as a positive step in reducing harassment and corruption while easing the burden on government machinery. However, the inclusion of airguns, replicas, and blank firing guns under the definition of firearms has been met with concern and criticism.

These changes have led to confusion and potential harassment for airgun owners, especially those in possession of airguns with a caliber larger than .177. Additionally, small scale airgun manufacturers may face severe challenges as demand for their products might decrease. This could lead to the loss of local businesses and an increase in unemployment rates within the industry.