Raj outfit to protest against Arms (Amendment) Bill

Representative image. (DH Photo)

Calling weapons as the remains of their glorious past and heritage, the Rajput outfits have said that they will stage a statewide protest if the government approves the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which gives permission to keep only one weapon.

Irked by the central government's proposed amendment to the Arms Act 1959, the Rajput community  and groups such as the Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena (SRRKS) has expressed anguish and threatened to protest on the street against the proposed bill  

 As per the original Arms Act, 1959, a person is allowed to carry a maximum of three licensed firearms.  But according to the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019, that was introduced in the Lok Sabha on November 29, a person will be allowed to carry only one licensed firearm. The 1959 Act clearly mentions, no person, other than a person referred to in sub-section (3), shall acquire, have in his possession or carry, at any time, more than three firearms.

Giriraj Singh Lotwara, president, Rajput Sabha told DH, "For Rajput community guns, or arms are more than weapons, as we pray to them. Our community who were erstwhile royals have inherited antique guns which have emotional values as well.  If the new bill comes in, they will our steal our weapons. In that case, we will use the weapons against those who dare to snatch it from us". The Rajput outfit has also written a letter to the Prime Minister regarding this issue.

According to Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 those who have more than one firearm, need to deposit the additional ones within one year. As per the Rajasthan police records, there are 1.7 lakh gun licenses which have been issued in Rajasthan. The owners have either received these from their ancestors or those fond of sports or shooting have taken license to keep the guns.

What Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 says, 

Person who has in his possession more firearms than one at the commencement of the Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019, may retain with him any one of such firearms and shall deposit, within one year from such commencement, the remaining firearms with the officer in charge of the nearest police station or, subject to the conditions prescribed for the purposes of sub-section (1) of section 21, with a licensed dealer or, where such person is a member of the armed forces of the Union, in a unit armoury referred to in that sub-section after which it shall be delicensed within ninety days from the date of expiry of aforesaid one year. Provided further that while granting arms licence on inheritance or heirloom basis, the limit of one firearm shall not be exceeded.

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