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NEW DELHI: Cutting across party lines, about a dozen Members of Parliament on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding that Home Ministry revisit the new Arms Policy, as it seeks to directly change the existing Arms Rule, 1962 without following proper procedure.
Led by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, under the banner of “National Association for Gun Rights (India),” the MPs claimed that in the guise of moving a minor amendment to the Arms Act, ostensibly to make police verification mandatory and creating a database, the Home Ministry was undermining every citizen's legal right to keep arms.
“The very basis of the new Arms Policy is the flawed assumption that the proliferation of arms, whether licensed or illegal, vitiates the law and order situation; what is not made clear is how the Ministry has arrived at this conclusion. In fact, the Ministry has admitted in Parliament that it has conducted no study/ assessment linking firearms to rise in crime rate. Such statements are also a direct insult to scores of honest law-abiding citizens who keep and bear arms responsibly, by equating them to common criminals,'' the MPs said in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister.
They objected to the new Arms Policy , which seeks to change the relevant authority for issuing all-India validity of arms licences, which was previously with the State government and has now, for all non-VIP cases, been made the Home Ministry. Alleging that it was discriminatory and against the very spirit of the Arms Act, as well as the Constitution, the MPs said there was a need to examine in depth the causes or solutions which the new Arms Policy aims to address. They argued that the new policy should be made citizen-friendly.
The signatories to the memorandum included Jaswant Singh, S. S. Ahluwalia, and Shahnawaz Hussain (all from the BJP), Rao Inderjit Singh, Naveen Jindal, Dr. Sanjay Singh, and Manish Tiwari from the Congress.
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