Effective control over arms and ammunitions is very important for safety and security in the country. In this context discuss the provisions of the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The Parliament has recently approved the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 providing for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for manufacturing and carrying illegal arms. The Bill seeks to amend the Arms Act, 1959 and decrease the number of licensed firearms allowed per person while increasing penalties for certain offences under the Act.
Features of the bill include –
- Under the Arms Act, 1959, a license is required to acquire, possess, or carry any firearm. The act allowed a person to obtain a license for up to three firearms which has been reduced to one.
- It proposes one year’s time to deposit extra firearms with the officer-in-charge at the nearest police station or with a licensed arms dealer. The extra firearm will be delicensed within 90 days from the expiry of the one-year period.
- The new arms bill increases the duration of the validity of a firearm license from three years to five years
- It bans the usage, transfer, conversion, proofing, manufacture or sale of firearms without a licence. It prohibits the shortening of firearm barrel or conversion of imitation firearms into firearms without a license.
- The arms bill additionally bans the procurement of unlicensed firearms and its conversion of one category of firearms to another without a license.
- It accords special status to a sportsperson who need firearms and ammunition for practice and participating in tournaments.
- The bill has increased punishment under Arms Act, 1959 for dealing in unlicensed firearms, import-export of banned firearms, conversion of firearms to jail term of 7 years or life imprisonment with fine.
- The bill has revised the punishment for cases in which the usage of prohibited arms results in the death of a person from the existing punishment of death to death or life imprisonment, with fine.
- It amends Section 25 (1AA) of the Arms Act and proposes minimum punishment of 14 years and maximum punishment of life imprisonment to those who snatch or loot arms and ammunition from the police or defence forces.
India currently has around 35 lakh gun licenses with Uttar Pradesh at the top with 13 lakh gun, followed by Jammu and Kashmir with 3.7 lakh people, taken in the name of security.