Right to keep and bear arms can be infringed in Nepal?

Group of Bullets and Gun on wood background

Meaning of Arms

Arms (हातहतियार) means
canon (तोप), machine gun,
mortar, the vehicles to be used for transporting and mounting canon (बख्तरबन्द गाडी),  rifle gun, pistol, revolver, or any other similar device used with/without the ammunition, and
the term shall also include parts of the arms, and machinery, equipment used to manufacture such arms. 

Ammunition (खरखजाना) means
gun powder (बारुद), cap(sule) (केप), the ball of a gun (गोली), shells (छर्रा), detonator, cartus, fuse or similar types other ammunitions. 

Machine Gun (मेशिनगन) means
brengun, luis gun, station machine carbine, tomson machine carbine, GMG, LMG, short machine gun, and automatic weapons of similar categories and the term also includes parts of the machine gun and machinery, equipment used to manufacture machine gun.  

Is carrying arms in Nepal a Constitutional Right?

It is quite wise to discuss the right conferred by the Second Amendment of US Constitution, to give meaning to the constitutional right of bearing arms. 
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Such language has created considerable debate regarding the Amendment’s intended scope. On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment’s phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. Under this “individual right theory,” the United States Constitution restricts legislative bodies from prohibiting firearm possession, or at the very least, the Amendment renders prohibitory and restrictive regulation presumptively unconstitutional. On the other hand, some scholars point to the prefatory language “a well regulated Militia” to argue that the Framers intended only to restrict Congress from legislating away a state’s right to self-defense. Scholars have come to call this theory “the collective rights theory.” A collective rights theory of the Second Amendment asserts that citizens do not have an individual right to possess guns and that local, state, and federal legislative bodies therefore possess the authority to regulate firearms without implicating a constitutional right. [Cited from Article of Cornell Law School]

In context of Nepal, the Constitution of Nepal does not provide the fundamental right to the citizens to bear arms. The Constitution also gives power to the GoN to requisition, acquire, or create encumbrances on arms held by person in Nepal because it being the matter of public interest.  

License/permission to be obtained

Any person who intends to manufacture/repair, bear/possess, import/export of arms/ammunition shall obtain an license. The license is issued in term basis and it needs to be renewed after the expiry of the term. 

Any person who has lawfully possessed the arms/ammunition for his own
private, except when prohibited by the law, may sell/transfer such arms/ammunition by obtaining permission from District Coordination Committee furnishing information of the name of the buyer, his address and the details of the sale.

Of course, the provision of license/permission doesn’t apply to GoN. 

Some Specific Provisions

Election Period

During the election period, no one except the Government employee related to security shall carry even the licensed arms in the constituency during the period commencing from the date of the filing of the nomination paper in the election conducted by the Election Commission until the 7th day of the announcement of the result of the election.

Handing over arms to Police Office

Upon expiry of the term of license of any person to keep the arms and ammunition or the license has been cancelled or upon publication of a government notice or
it has been illegal to keep such arms and ammunition due to any other reason, he shall immediately hand over such arms and ammunition to the local police office and the police office. Such person may take back the arms and ammunition if it becomes legal to keep in his possession the arms/ammunition so handed over or he may sell or cause to sell the arms and ammunition so handed over to a person who is legally authorized to keep such arms/ammunition.

Government may withhold

GoN may, if it deems fit for the sake of public safety, give an order to withhold the arms or ammunition after having them seized anytime even when the person has a license to have in his possession the arms/ammunition. 

Gun bearing right is not a fundamental right of Nepal so GoN may withhold such arms at the time of crisis or when GoN deems fit. This also doesn’t amount to infringement on Right to Property conferred by the Constitution because in matter of public/national interest GoN has the right to requisition, acquire, or create encumbrances  on the arms/ammunition. 

Issuing license

Well, no one shall bring into Nepal from abroad or take out of the Nepal to abroad or bring into or take out from one district to another of Nepal

  • cannon or machine gun (not allowed in any case)
  • other arms/ammunition (not allowed in case of absence of license)

Let’s say someone from USA wants to bring in their arms/ammunition in Nepal to go to hunting in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, will they be allowed to do so? Well yes but with restrictions. In context of Nepal’s regulation, they will need to

  • produce USA License, and 
  • obtain Nepal license for bringing arms/ammunition into Nepal, and
  • ensure that the arms/ammunition should not be a cannon or machine gun

Relevant Regulations