Chandigarh, Nov 29 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday urged the Centre not to reduce the number of firearms permissible on a licence from three to one in view of the sensitive location and troubled history of the state.
In a missive to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister sought a review of a proposal of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to amend the Arms Act of 1959, thereby restricting the number of firearms from three to one.
He has, however, made it clear that if some states are keen to reduce the number of weapons from the current permissible limit on a license, they may be allowed to do so without prejudicing other states.
In the letter, the Chief Minister pointed out that he had personally raised the issue with the Prime Minister during the latter’s recent visit to Punjab during the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.
The Punjab government was in agreement with most of the proposed amendments, but had strong reservations regarding restricting the number of firearms a licensee can possess, he said.
The Chief Minister stressed that Punjab being a border state and having gone through a long period of terrorist violence, a large number of people possess more than one firearm and many farmers who reside away from the villages in their agricultural farms, also possess firearms for crop protection.
Therefore, he wrote, it was also significant to note that only a very small fraction of crime was committed using licensed weapons. These facts, he said, could be independently ascertained as they were within the domain of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Amarinder Singh observed restricting the number of firearms permissible on a licence from three to one may not be of much help in crime control.
On the contrary, a large number of people would be inconvenienced by way of surrender of additional weapons and the farming community would also be deprived of weapons meant for crop protection, he added.