20 June, 2021

One Gun Too Many? When Lawmakers Pull The Trigger To Suit Themselves

The deadly equation between politicians and weapons has never been a mystery. But when MPs amend the gun law so as to keep their arsenal intact and safe, it raises concerns

Photograph by PTI
One Gun Too Many? When Lawmakers Pull The Trigger To Suit Themselves

In a flip-flop following pressure from stakeholders, including MPs, Parl­iament passed the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019, on December 10, with a key provision diluted. Instead of reducing the maximum number of firearms for which licence can be issued to an individual from three to one, as the bill originally envisaged, Parliament settled for two as the new limit. Had the limit been reduced to one, it would have affected defence minister Rajnath Singh, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

“Owning multiple weapons was a nec­essity in an era of poor communication facilities when police stations were few and far away, and the amendment refle­cts the changed realities of our society,” said home minister Amit Shah, adding that the bill was uploaded for comments a month ago and changes were made based on the feedback received.

According to data collated from affidavits filed for the 2019 general elections, over 18 per cent of Lok Sabha MPs have...

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