However, the Explosives Act provision is meaningless as no manufacturer is currently offering smokeless powder or primers for sale to civilians
Probably arms dealers are not interested in selling small arms nitro compound, as they think they are making more money selling cartridges. Any rifle club, association or a shop can obtain licence from District Magistrate on Form LE-5(under article 5(a) of Part 1 of Schedule IV of the Explosives Rules, 2008) to possess and sell from a shop, at any one time, not exceeding 25 kilogrammes of small arms nitro compound. Reloaders and owners of weapons of obsolete pattern can buy from this shop.
Unless I am mistaken, the process of have a firearm declared as obsolete is a painful & lengthy one. In the course of a conversation I had (in this regard) with a friend who is also an arms dealer, he'd mentioned that it can take more than an year to have the cops issue the relevant certificate... this was an year or so back.
Arms Act 1959 is already declaring "any weapon of an obsolete pattern" is not covered by Arms Act 1959. So I do not think there is further need to get any declaration. Does there exist an official/legal document to clarify what is "obsolete pattern" so that one can get it manufactured accordingly? Arms dealers probably will not be interested in people going for "any weapon of an obsolete pattern" due to their short sightedness.
Of course, there is another hurdle as well, one to do with plain and simple business sense - most of these firearms command a much higher value overseas than they do in India.
What you are saying seems to affect antique weapons. But it does not appear that it would effect weapons of an obsolete pattern. Weapons of an obsolete pattern do not have to be antiques. They can be even brand new. When people know that they can posses, brand new custom made weapons of an obsolete pattern without the nuisance of Arms Act 1959, there are going to be enough customers willing to pay the market price.
I hear that the Govt. of India plans to destroy all obsolete service firearms. Due to their own stupid PB/ NPB restrictions these cannot be sold to civilians
By the virtue of Section 45(c) of Arms Act 1959, regardless of PB/ NPB or anything else, any weapons that are hundred years or more old are not covered by Arms Act 1959, they can be kept in museums as per Antiquities and Art Treasures Act 1972 or if museums don't have space or money, they can be sold to the public. Where is the legal hurdle to the Government? Those who originally drafted Arms Act 1959 were much more reasonable and honest to the Constitution, than this government. At least they recognized that arms are our Freedom under Article 19 and Liberty under Article 21 and wrote Section 45(c) to respect this fact. PB bore is baseless, unreasonable and unconstitutional restriction, based on the premise that government cannot trust its own soldiers. It can be easily well challenged on various grounds including the doctrine of strict scrutiny in courts.
I hear they have made commitments at the UN that no service firearms will be sold to civilians/ exported, so now they must be destroyed!
Probably this is something like a big scam. Who is the UN to interfere in the internal matters of the country? Who empowered the government to make unconstitutional commitments with UN? Government may not export them, but where is the problem to sell them to citizens following the due process of law? Arms are fundamental right and government arms are public property. Public property can be sold to public by following the due process of law. Where is the problem?
All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. - Friedrich Nietzsche