One person, one gun: Govt moves further changes to Arms Amendment Bill
New Delhi, Dec 09: Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday moved further amendments to the Arms (Amendment) Bill including provision of special status to sportspersons. "There were many discrepancies in the six-decade old law making crime control difficult," he said while introducing further amendments in Lok Sabha.
The further amendment to the Bill seeks to provide special status for sportspersons. "Many suggestions were received. I have moved an official amendment in this regard also," he said. The Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha on November 29. The Bill seeks to enhance punishment for illegally possessing and making prohibited arms besides other changes in the six- decade-old Arms Act.
The Arms (Amendment) Bill makes provision that a person can have a maximum of two firearms, as against the present norm of three. Those who own more than two firearms will have to deposit the third one with authorities or authorised gun dealers within 90 days for de-licensing once the amendment is approved by Parliament, according to the bill.
As per the bill, the government proposes to amend Section 25 (1AA) of the Arms Act, 1959, to give punishment from the usual life term of 14 years to "imprisonment for the remainder of that person's life" for manufacturing, selling, repairing and possessing "prohibited" arms. The minimum punishment under this section will be 14 years. Under the present law, the offence invites imprisonment not be less than seven years but may extend to life imprisonment -- mostly up to 14 years. According to an estimate, India has around 35 lakh gun licences.
Thirteen lakh people have licences to carry weapons in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, where 3.7 lakh people possess arms licences, most of which were taken in the name of personal security. Punjab, which witnessed terrorism in 1980s and 1990s, has around 3.6 lakh active gun licences, most of which were issued during the two decades wherein militancy had engulfed the state.