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Arms (Amendment) Bill Passed by Lok Sabha

The Lower House of the Indian Parliament i.e. the Lok Sabha recently passed the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to provide a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for manufacturing and carrying illegal arms.

The Bill was put before the house by Union Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah. It also ensures that those using firearms in a rash or negligent manner in celebratory gunfire, endangering human life or personal safety of others shall be punishable with an imprisonment upto 2 years or with fine which may extend to Rs. 1 lakh or both.

The Home Minister said that the bill has accorded special status to sportsperson who need firearms and ammunition for practice and participating in tournaments.

The Bill was passed by the Lower House after rejecting several amendments moved by the Opposition members.

Under the proposed provision, 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 authorized gun dealers within 90 days for de-licensing. There is a provision for life imprisonment for those who snatch or loot arms and ammunition from police or defence forces.

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.

According to an estimate, India has a total of around 35 lakh gun licenses. Thirteen lakh people have licenses to carry weapons in Uttar Pradesh, followed by militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir, where 3.7 lakh people possess arms licenses, most of which were taken in the name of personal security.

SOURCE: The Economic Times

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