December 10, 2019
Subhasish Chakraborty speaks on The Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019
Sir, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
I have a few points to make, which the Government should consider.
- Usage of unlicensed weapons: According to Government data, nearly 58,000 offences were recorded in 2017. Only 419 involved licensed arms. 63,000 firearms were seized. Only 3,500 were licensed. Seven people were arrested every hour with illegal weapons.
What is the Government doing to curb the smuggling of firearms into the country?
- Criteria for license: In light of the number of crimes being committed, the Government has to revisit and strengthen the criteria for issuing licenses, so that the arms cannot be used for crimes.
- Arms manufacturing: The Government has liberalised the manufacture of small arms and allows foreign direct investment of 49 per cent in its manufacture. But now there is a limit to hold licensed firearms. What will be the impact on arms manufacturing companies?
- Armed forces: What about the armed forces misusing weapons? What are the provisions and punishments? How many cases have been recorded?
- Heirlooms: Vintage firearms are family heirlooms passed over generations. Giving them up can lead to heritage erosion.
When the vintage firearms will be deposited at the police station, who will look after them? Their maintenance? Upkeep?
- Tracking of firearms: The Bill proposes the tracking of firearms and ammunition. But the government has to ensure that the privacy of people holding licensed firearms will be protected.
There has to be a holistic mechanism for the collection and protection of data, especially when the government has still not tabled the Data Protection Bill in Parliament.
- New offences: The Bill prohibits using firearms in celebratory gunfire. There should be overarching prohibitions, like say, a farmer using a licensed gun to ward off animals from his crops.
- Demonetisation: The Government had claimed that demonetisation would kill terrorism. But it has not been done. To counter this, holistic policies and strong action are required.
What has the Government done to curb terror? Has the access to arms by terrorists been curbed? How were unlicensed firearms funded?
The Government should take cognisance of these points. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on the Bill.