New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Monday took up for discussion the Bill, which seeks to increase punishment for illegally making or selling prohibited arms and ammunition, with Home minister Amit Shah saying that there were many infirmities in the existing law which need to be addressed.

Moving the Arms (Amendment) Bill 2019 for introduction in the House, Shah said that there was not much difference in punishment between those using possessing weapons illegally and those manufacturing them. The Home minister said that there was also not much difference in punishment to those who possess an AK 47 rifle and those caught with a country-made pistol.

The Bill seeks to amend the Arms Act, 1959 "to effectively curb crimes committed by using illegal firearms."

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill state that the law enforcement agencies indicate a growing nexus between possession of illegal firearms and commission of criminal offences, and with advancement in technology, the firepower and sophistication of illegal firearms have increased significantly over the years.

"The trans-border dimensions of illegal arms trafficking are causing a threat to internal security and to prevent the usage of illicit firearms trafficked has also become a prime concern," says the Bill.

The Bill seeks to rationalise and facilitate licensing procedures for the use of firearms by individuals and sportspersons.

It also seeks to define new offences and prescribe punishment for them, such as for taking away firearms from police or armed forces, involvement in organised crime syndicate, illicit trafficking including smuggled firearms of foreign make or prohibited arms and prohibited ammunition, use of firearms in rash and negligent manner in celebratory gunfire endangering human life.

It also seeks to enhance the period of arms licence from three years to five years and also to issue arms licence in its electronic form.