Soon, non-functional light machine guns can be bought as mementos: Centre frames guidelines for disposal of old weapons

New Delhi: Want to keep a light machine gun (LMG) in your drawing room? Soon, you can buy high-end prohibited weapons as souvenirs, but only after they are converted into drill practice, making the firearms non-functional. The government has finally framed the guidelines, almost eight years after the issue of disposal of old and obsolete weapons was first raised by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in October 2010.

Documents reviewed by Firstpost reveal that a suggestion has been considered to use unserviceable automatic weapons like machine guns, considered as prized possessions in combat, as mementos. Besides, the CAPFs can also cannibalise them to extract serviceable parts for use in the repairs of defective weapons. The empty fired cartridges, however, will be disfigured before disposal and can be auctioned through MSTC Limited, a government-owned company. The Arms Act defines prohibited arms, which are automatic or semi-automatic in nature. While in operation, an LMG has a capacity of 100 bullets in a single magazine, and is considered as the finest weapon in close range.

 Soon, non-functional light machine guns can be bought as mementos: Centre frames guidelines for disposal of old weapons

Representational image. Reuters

The issue of the large number of obsolete weapons was discussed with Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) way back in 2010. The OFB had agreed to destroy them by melting them in a furnace available at one of its factories. The OFB, however, made it clear that the transportation and safe custody of the weapons till the melting process took place would be the responsibility of the respective police forces. In December 2012, a meeting of officers from Assam Rifles, Border Security Force, National Security Guards, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Sashastra Seema Bal and Central Reserve Police Force was held to consider two important issues — disposal of old, obsolete and unserviceable weapons; and the release of spare parts of old and obsolete weapons, including inventory management, to ensure safe transfer of spares and best utilisation of these stores.

Subsequently, the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) suggested that the obsolete weapons are required to be further sub-divided into obsolete serviceable and obsolete unserviceable weapons. The BPR&D suggested that the stage at which the selected weapons and their associated accessories, spare parts can be charged off from stock ledger, must be defined. During the deliberations, it was advised that the CAPFs must follow the practice prevalent in the Master General of Ordnance, Ministry of Defence. Since state governments have also been seeking directions for disposal of their obsolete weapons, representatives from the states were also invited during the meetings.

According to documents, there would be a procedure for declaring the weapons as obsolete.

A document states: “Field formation will compile an inventory of all such weapons and submit the same to central weapon stores or any such institution of concerned force. The respective force headquarters will constitute their empowered committee for submitting their considered views with respect to the declaration of such weapons as obsolete. After taking into account usefulness of weapons and consulting with all other stakeholders, a comprehensive proposal will be forwarded to Ministry of Home Affairs for final decision with respect to the declaration of the weapon as obsolete/unserviceable.”

There is also a suggestion that serviceable obsolete weapons and ammunition could be transferred to police forces of other friendly countries. As far as captured weapons from criminal elements, terrorists and insurgents are concerned, the government will step in once the legal proceedings are over and courts issue no-objection certificates.

“These will be categorised into standard pattern (serviceable/unserviceable) and non-standard pattern (serviceable/unserviceable). The serviceable standard pattern weapons and ammunition may be merged into stocks against authorisation after approval of Ministry of Home Affairs and can be transferred to other CAPFs or state police forces. Unserviceable standard pattern and non-standard pattern weapons and ammunition shall be disposed of as per procedure for unserviceable weapon and ammunition,” a document reviewed by Firstpost revealed.

Updated Date: Dec 15, 2018 16:52:04 IST