NEW DELHI: Introducing the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Upper House, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishan Reddy said on Tuesday that the legislation proposes stringent punishment for illegal weapon and ammunition traffickers.
"Though the Bill is small, it is very important Bill," said the minister adding that the proposed legislation would help government in controlling proliferation of illegal arms and ammunition in the country.
The minister further pointed out that the Act was amended 31 years ago looking into the priorities of the government. "Now there is need to revisit the Act and make changes according to the challenges we are facing," said the minister adding that there is spurt in illegal arms smuggling and it is a major concern.
Before introduction of the Bill, the Congress member Madhusudan Mistry objected before the chair that the Bill was circulated at 12 noon and it is a matter of concern as they did not get adequate time to go through the legislation. He said, "It has become the matter of concern as it is becoming a trend that bills passed in the Lok Sabha are introduced in the Rajya Sabha without giving adequate time for the members to prepare for it."
The Bill, which seeks to amend the six-decade-old Arms Act, 1959 to effectively curb crimes committed by using illegal firearms, was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9.
The Bill bans the manufacture, sale, use, transfer, conversion, testing or proofing of firearms without a license.
As per the amendment, even the punishment for offences under the act has been increased to between seven years and life imprisonment, and a fine. Previously, the punishment for offences under the act was between three to seven years, along with a fine.