The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to exempt shooters from the Arms Amendment Bill 2019. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on November 29 by the Home Minister. The Bill decreases the number of arms a person is permitted to own, increases penalties in case of offences, and introduces new offences.
Speaking to ANI, the Secretary of the NRAI said that they have written to the Home Minister to exempt shooters from the Bill. He added that the letter was sent by the President of the Association.
Under the Act, a license must be obtained to acquire, possess, or carry any firearm. A person can obtain a license for up to three firearms (with certain exceptions, such as for licensed firearms dealers). The Bill reduces the number of permitted firearms from three to one. This includes licenses given on inheritance or heirloom basis. The Bill provides a time period of one year to deposit the excess firearms with the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station or with a licensed firearm dealer as specified. If the owner is a member of the armed forces, the firearm may be deposited with a unit armoury. The excess firearms will be delicensed within 90 days from the expiry of the one-year period.
The Act punishes acquisition, possession, or carrying of prohibited ammunition without a license, with imprisonment between five and ten years, along with fine. The Bill increases the punishment to imprisonment between seven and fourteen years, along with a fine. A court may impose a punishment of lesser than seven years, with recorded reasons.
The Act also punishes dealing in prohibited firearms (including their manufacture, sale, and repair) without a license, with imprisonment between seven years and life imprisonment, along with a fine. The Bill increases the minimum punishment from seven years to ten years. The punishment for cases in which the usage of prohibited arms and ammunition results in the death of a person has been revised from the existing punishment of death to death or life imprisonment, with fine.
(With inputs from Agencies)