New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The government in the Lok Sabha on Friday moved a Bill for rationalising and facilitating the licensing procedures for use of firearms by individuals as well as to curb crimes committed by using illegal firearms and provide effective deterrence against violation of law.
The Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks amendment to the Arms Act, 1959, provides for enhancement of period of arms licence from three years to five years and also to issue arms licence in electronic form.
Citing law enforcement agencies’ reports on a growing nexus between possession of illegal firearms and commission of criminal offences, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, while introducing the Bill, said the move is to deal with the future issues as the fire power and sophistication of illegal firearms have increased over the years.
“The trans-border dimensions of illegal arms trafficking are causing threat to internal security. To prevent the usage of illicit firearms so trafficked has also become a prime concern. To effectively curb crimes related to or committed by using illegal firearms and to provide effective deterrence against violation of law, there is an urgent need to strengthen the existing legislative framework by making appropriate amendments in the Arms Act, 1959,” the government said.
Simultaneously, the government said, there is also a requirement for rationalising and facilitating the licensing procedures for use of firearms by individuals and sports persons.
In order to implement measures effectively, it is proposed to amend the Arms Act, 1959 under the Bill which proposes to define new offences and prescribing punishment for them, such as for taking away firearms from police or armed forces,involvement in organised crime syndicate, illicit trafficking including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited arms and prohibited ammunition, use of firearms in rash and negligent manner in celebratory gunfire endangering human life.
The Bill seeks to enhance punishment for existing offences such as illegal manufacture, sale, transfer; illegal acquiring, possessing or carrying prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition; and illegal manufacture, sale, transfer, conversion, import, export, of firearms.
The Arms Act, 1959, which was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to arms and ammunition, and the rules made thereunder regulate the acquisition, possession, use, manufacture, transfer, sale, transport, export and import of arms and ammunition and punishment for contravention in order to curb illegal weapons and violence stemming from them.