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Govt should double weapons quota for shooters: Rathore

Govt should double weapons quota for shooters: Rathore

BJP member Rajyavardhan Rathore on Monday pitched for relaxation in law for those with licensed- guns, including doubling the quota for weapons for sportspersons, as he asserted in Lok Sabha that "good citizens" should be given arms. During a discussion on the Arms (Amendment) Bill, which was later passed by the House, Rathore, an Olympic medal- winning shooter, said those with licensed arms help check anti-social elements in society in a similar way as vaccines fight viruses in a human body.

Rathore's speech drew applause from members cutting across party lines and they even urged the Chair to let him speak for a longer time than allowed as he passionately argued for the rights of people having arm licenses. While celebratory firings must be curbed, it should also be considered those with valid arms do not get a chance or even learn to handle weapons, he said and urged the Union government to allow them to use firing range of local police to use their weapons.

With the proposed law bringing to two from three the number of weapons a license-holder can keep, he argued that they should be allowed to keep two active weapons and the rest in a deactive state. People have emotional attachment with their weapons, many handed down generations, and these arms are often not maintained well in police stations or armoury, the former Union minister said.

Rules, he said, often held back Indian shooters who have to compete with over 200 countries and asked the government to allow sportspersons to keep double the number of additional weapons than allowed presently. Police cannot reach many places of crime in time and those with licensed-arms can be used as the "first reaction", he said.

Many opposition members criticised the bill for its curb on license holders. BSP's Shyam Singh Yadav called it regressive and claimed that arms are to men what jewellery is to women and cited official statistics to say that illegal arms are the overwhelming cause for crimes and not licensed weapons.

SP's S T Hasan also spoke on similar lines. Many people love to keep antique arms, he said. Asadudding Owaisi of AIMIM also opposed the bill. Jasbir Singh Gill of the Congress said it was beyond him as to why the government was bringing down the number of weapons to two for a license-holder..

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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