MPs oppose new arms licensing policy


New Delhi : After criticising Home Minister P. Chidambaram over his policy to tackle Maoists, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh has now found fault with the home ministry’s moves to change the Arms Act.

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Singh, who is the chief patron of National Association for Gun Rights India, Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with leaders of other political parties, saying the home ministry had quietly moved to change aspects of the law that would lead to undermining citizen’s legal right to keep arms.

The delegation included Jaswant Singh, S.S. Ahluwalia and Shahnawaz Hussain of Bharatiya Janata Party; Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh of Samajwadi Party; Naveen Jindal, Manish Tewari, Anil Lad, Sanjay Singh and Fransisco Sardinhia of Congress.

The memorandum said that in the guise of a minor amendment to the Arms Act, ostensibly to make police verification and creating a database mandatory, the home ministry has in effect changed the law and its implementation, without seeking parliamentary approval or following proper procedures.

The very basis of the new arms policy was a flawed assumption that proliferation of arms, whether licensed or illegal, vitiates the law and order situation, it said.

The delegation said the new policy requires a citizen to prove grave and imminent threat to life prior to the grant of arms license.

But the MPs said that proving grave and imminent threat was impossible for an ordinary citizen and thus the new rule will lead to large scale corruption and deprive a common man of his right to protect himself.