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Firearms licence fees to go up

KATHMANDU, APR 19 -

Keeping firearms is going to get costlier pretty soon.

The government feels firearms licence fees are too low and is all set to hike the charges “in keeping with the changed context.”

A revolver and rifle licence each will cost the owner a whopping Rs. 10000. The annual licence renewal fee for such arms will increase to Rs. 1,000 from Rs. 175, according to a senior Home Ministry official.

Keeping airguns will also cost more. As per the proposal on amendment to the Arms and Ammunition Regulation-1971, which is already with the Cabinet, acquiring an airgun licence will cost the owner Rs. 300 -- a quantum leap of Rs. 255. The licence renewal fee for airguns will be Rs. 200; the current rate is Rs. 60.

All these rates are for carrying the arms nationwide.

The fees for limited use -- within one’s home district -- will also go up, but marginally.

Though the regulation allows issuing licences to owners of small arms like pistol, authorities have stopped issuing such licences after the restoration of democracy in 1990, said the official.

“We forwarded the amendment proposal primarily for adjusting licence fees in keeping with the changed context and to regulate the renewal of licences of those weapons that were handed over to the state during the conflict,” said the official.

With many licensed arms still in possession of the state, the real owners have not been able to renew licences, thereby rendering these weapons illegal. An arms licence becomes illegal if its licence is not renewed within five years.

The proposal suggests giving continuity to the existing provision of issuing licence for production and sale of arms. Currently, only Nepal Army produces ammunition.

At present, those applying for firearms licence need to go through a long process and the Chief District Officer (CDO) is the sole authority to decide whether an applicant should be granted licence.

The CDO sends the recommendation letter to the Home Ministry and the District Administration Office issues the licence once the ministry approves the recommendation.

Home Ministry records show that over 34,314 people possess licensed firearms, and most licence-holders are from Kathmandu Valley apart from Tarai districts such as Morang, Jhapa, Parsa, Siraha and Sarlahi. Records show that people from rich families and former security officials have licensed arms.

Proposed licence fee

Type of arms     Amount  (Rs.)

Pistol, revolver, rifle     10,000

Countrymade gun or min rifle    2,000

Muzzle loading gun    300

Airgun     300

Posted on: 2010-04-20 07:05


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