Licensed guns deterrent, like immunisation: Rathore

Licensed guns deterrent, like immunisation: Rathore

Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Arms (Amendment) Bill, limiting the number of licensed fire arms one can keep to two but not before a passionate debate, which saw leaders including former Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore pitching for more licensed guns, which they argued are “deterrent” and compared them with “immunization”

BSP's Shyam Singh felt “arms are to men what jewellery is to women” and cited official statistics to say that illegal arms not licensed weapons are the reason for crime.

The Bill moved by Home Minister Amit Sha that provides for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for manufacturing and carrying illegal arms was passed after a three-hour-long debate. The minimum punishment for this will now be 14 years.

Those who have more than two firearms will have to deposit the third one with authorities or authorised gun dealers within 90 days for de-licensing under the amended Act. Sportspersons have been exempted and they can keep more arms for sports purposes.

“Despite having a fire brigade, we keep fire extinguishers at different places. Similarly though there is police station to protect, armed licenses should also be there,” Rathore said arguing that the licensed gun holders fight like “good citizens” against criminals and called for “need to change outlook” towards the issue as the NDA government pressed for passage of the Bill.

Comparing armed license with immunsiation, Rathore, Olympic medal- winning shooter, who earlier served as Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting said, those with licensed arms help check anti-social elements in society in a similar way as vaccines fight viruses in a human body.

Turning the debate over the bill as legal versus illegal guns, Rathore said while there is a need to check illegal arms as “90 percent murders carried out through illegal weapons”, it is necessary to give arms to good citizens for nation’s protection” as different communities in past protected India with their arms.

Advancing the argument that police to persons ratio is very low in the country, Rathore, an MP from Jaipur rural in Rajasthan repeatedly favoured distributing more arms and giving more licenses as he also talked about the attachment that people have in preserving the armed licenses owned by their family and forefathers.

The amended law now allows possession of two weapons from the earlier three to a license-holder can keep, which Rathore welcomed but felt that license holders should be allowed to keep more weapons in a de-active state as he spoke of the emotional attachment with weapons being held by some in family for generations.

Questioning the efficacy of the bill, S T Hassan from SP said only four percent arms are licensed in India.  

The pitch of the MPs in favour of licenses guns was in sync with the fascination for gun culture prevailing in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh including the infamous Chambal region.

In June this year, Gwalior collector had come out with a unique selfie plan to promote plantation asking for a selfie with a month-old sapling to get arm license.