Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday evening said that he did not think women needed to carry firearms as other people would protect them, The Hindu reported. Naidu made the remarks as two women MPs asked for time to speak on the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that was later passed in the Parliament on the same day.
“In my opinion, women don’t need firearms, others will protect you,” Naidu said. Following this, he noted that the time allotted for the discussion was over but “one of the two women” could speak.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Roopa Ganguly told the House that she knew how to shoot firearms since she was a child and “enjoyed it as a sport”.
The legislation, once ratified, will amend the Arms Act of 1959, and reduce the number of licensed firearms allowed per person to two. It will increase penalties for certain offences under the Act. It has also introduced new categories of offences. The draft law was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Apart from increasing the penalties for dealing in illegal arms, the legislation will make snatching a firearm from security forces an offence with a 10-year to life term as punishment. Using firearms in celebratory firing “which endangers human life or personal safety of others” will be punishable with two years in jail and/or fine up of up to Rs one lakh. The bill defined celebratory gunfire as use of firearms in public gatherings, religious places, marriages or other functions.
Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said that firearms passed down from generations could be retained apart from the two legal ones only if they were deactivated or no longer used to fire.