Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

The legal aspects of owning, shooting, importing arms/ ammo and other related legal aspects as well as any other legal queries. Please note: This INCLUDES all arms licensing issues/ queries!
Post Reply
Agnikul
Fresh on the boat
Fresh on the boat
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:49 am

Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by Agnikul » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:36 am

Hello,

I'm currently working on a story involving military & police elements which, once moves to production would ideally require the on-location usage (discharge) of blank-firing weapons ranging from handguns to fully-automatic rifles. I have been actively trying to avoid usage of dummies so as to get maximum authenticity with regard to such elements as ejection of spent casings and simulation of felt recoil by the actors (though not as much a real round, I've learnt recoil is very much there especially on full-load blanks (maximum powder in cartridge).

So my question here is basically two-fold:

a) Is it at all legal to import (most probably leasing) any kind of Blank Firing-adapted firearm for the expressly stated purpose of film-making?

b) Given that somehow we were able to acquire blank firearms for purposes of the production, under what terms might the crew & actors be allowed to handle the firearms on set?

Regarding concern A: I understand that the Customs departments in the country are extremely strict in terms of what equipment can be cleared and what cannot. I have heard of cases in the past where blank-firing weapons were seized at Customs (does anyone recall the Airsoft Guns India incident as well?) and the statement given out by the officers present voiced their concerns regarding the possibility of blank guns being converted into real firearms therefore requiring a license which the importer obviously did not have in the case. I haven't followed the case neither intent to at this point given the lack of public information.

Given these prevailing circumstances, exactly what type of importer clearances will be required?

Regarding concern B: From what I gathered, the rules & regulations for usage of real and/or blank firearms on a movie set are well-established in countries like the US. Going from such requirements as the presence of a certified Armorer on set during all shoots involving the firearms used under his instructions & supervision, all the way to any such usage being informed to and subject to clearance by the local Police Department after any required background-checks or otherwise.

How established are such practices in India? And if they are not well-developed (which would lead to any such endeavour standing on shaky ground), then what kind of certification could one possibly need to mitigate any misunderstandings from arising? Such as perhaps the handling of blank firearms happening under the supervision of personnel from the Police force or the Indian Army and only in secure locations?

Any advice regarding the rules and regulations (and possible ways to approach for acquiring the needed clearances) are welcome!

Thanks in Advance!

For Advertising mail webmaster
User avatar
mundaire
We post a lot
We post a lot
Posts: 5089
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:53 pm
Location: New Delhi, India
Contact:

Re: Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by mundaire » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:21 am

Arms Rules 2016 has made arms licenses mandatory for blank firing guns, and treats them essentially as firearms!

This despite the fact that is is contrary to the definitions given in Section 2 (1) (c) and 2 (1) (e) of the Arms Act 1959. So it is eminently suitable for a legal challenge in court.

However, since this is an issue that largely concerns the film industry/ showbiz, you should have your industry body take it up.

Meanwhile, it may be expedient to film those scenes at an overseas location.
Like & share IndiansForGuns Facebook Page
Follow IndiansForGuns on Twitter

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS - JOIN NAGRI NOW!

www.gunowners.in

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." -- Robert Heinlein

Agnikul
Fresh on the boat
Fresh on the boat
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:49 am

Re: Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by Agnikul » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:26 am

mundaire wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:21 am
Arms Rules 2016 has made arms licenses mandatory for blank firing guns, and treats them essentially as firearms!

This despite the fact that is is contrary to the definitions given in Section 2 (1) (c) and 2 (1) (e) of the Arms Act 1959. So it is eminently suitable for a legal challenge in court.

However, since this is an issue that largely concerns the film industry/ showbiz, you should have your industry body take it up.

Meanwhile, it may be expedient to film those scenes at an overseas location.
Hi, thanks for the reply and sorry it took me a while to get back.

So basically, you're saying there is no way for any company/individual to import Blank firing-adapted firearms into the country for the expressly stated purpose of film-making? Because the 2016 Rules define blank guns to be same as firearms and because real firearms cannot be used for film shoots, blank guns cannot be used either?

I have gone through the relevant portion of the 2016 arms rules guidelines and managed to glean the following:

" 42. Licence for arms and ammunition for theatrical, film or television productions. -

(1) A licence for acquisition, possession, carry or use of arms and ammunition may be issued in Form III to the applicants for
the following purposes, namely:–

(i) Theatrical performances and of rehearsals for such performances;
(ii) In the production of films;
(iii) In the production of television programmes;
(iv) The organisation and holding of historical re-enactments;
(v) Signaling for starting races or athletic meets.

(2) The application for a licence under this rule shall be submitted along with the following documents, namely: –

(i) An undertaking confirming that the applicant shall not resort to conversion of firearms replica and blank firing firearms into firearms;
(ii) Proof to the satisfaction of the licensing authority that the applicant is an actual user or a contractor for providing such arms or ammunition
on hire for the purposes specified in sub-rule (1);
(iii) Description of security measures pertaining to safe custody of arms or ammunition to be implemented by the applicant;
(iv) An undertaking that the applicant or the person to whom the arms are given on hire, shall not use live ammunition;
(v) Details of the place where the records in respect of the issuance of arms or ammunition will be kept for inspection by the licensing authority
or by any Police Officer not below the rank of an Inspector. "

So it would appear it is indeed possible to acquire blank-firing adapted firearms for the purposes of film-making given the required applications and checks specified under sub-rule (2) are met.

What I as of yet am not certain about is, does this apply only to firearms sourced from within India, from either IOF or via a authorized distributor of imported guns? Or can a company/individual (under the auspices of a recognized Film Production Studio if necessary) who has the required license choose to directly import said weapons (pre-adapted to blank firing before importing)?

User avatar
mundaire
We post a lot
We post a lot
Posts: 5089
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:53 pm
Location: New Delhi, India
Contact:

Re: Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by mundaire » Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:16 pm

Allow me to clarify:-

(a) Import of firearms (except under certain special circumstances) by civilians was banned in 1986
(b) After notification of Arms Rules 2016, blank guns are now considered as "firearms" under law, requiring licensing, etc.
(c) While replicas/ imitation firearms are manufactured in India, currently no one is engaged in manufacturing blank guns or blank ammunition
(d) To the best of my knowledge, the list of calibres of ammunition allowed for import by arms and ammunition dealers does not have any listing for blank gun specific ammunition.

Per (a) and (b) above, blank guns cannot be legally imported into India any more, and per (c) they are not made in India and per (d) even those which were imported into India prior to 2016 can no longer be used as their classification as firearms means that their ammunition is neither made here nor can be legally imported.

Of course prior to 2016, they were not considered as "arms" at all, let alone "firearms", so people had imported some of these (largely) for use as props. However, with the change in the law, they are now required to procure a firearms license for each of these blank guns that they possess. Furthermore, per section 3 of the Arms Act 1959, no one apart from Arms & Ammunition dealers may possess/ have on license more than 3 firearms (some exceptions excluded). So these persons/ companies that were so far renting out these blank guns, may each no longer keep more than 3 blank guns on their license. That is if they have even applied for a license, if not then they/ their customers are sitting on a landmine.

The only way IMHO to fix the situation is to take the matter to court and have the inclusion of blank guns as firearms (per Arms Rules 2016), struck down.

Do feel free to consult a lawyer, if you don't think the above interpretation is accurate.
Like & share IndiansForGuns Facebook Page
Follow IndiansForGuns on Twitter

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS - JOIN NAGRI NOW!

www.gunowners.in

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." -- Robert Heinlein

Aishgupta
Learning the ropes
Learning the ropes
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:21 am

Re: Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by Aishgupta » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:37 am

You cannot import/possess blank fire-arms since theyre still "fire-arms"
Try using some hi end Airsoft GBB guns, apart from the sound factor, theyre the same

Agnikul
Fresh on the boat
Fresh on the boat
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:49 am

Re: Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by Agnikul » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:02 am

Aishgupta wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:37 am
You cannot import/possess blank fire-arms since theyre still "fire-arms"
Try using some hi end Airsoft GBB guns, apart from the sound factor, theyre the same
Thanks for the reply. Can you specify if there are also any regulations in place for the import & use of blow-back Airsoft guns?

Also thanks for clarifying @mundaire

User avatar
mundaire
We post a lot
We post a lot
Posts: 5089
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 5:53 pm
Location: New Delhi, India
Contact:

Re: Usage of Blank Firearms for Film-making Purposes?

Post by mundaire » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:41 pm

No worries, just wish I had more positive news to convey. :(
Like & share IndiansForGuns Facebook Page
Follow IndiansForGuns on Twitter

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS - JOIN NAGRI NOW!

www.gunowners.in

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." -- Robert Heinlein

Post Reply