No guns at weddings: Indian Parliament just made 'celebratory' gunfire punishable

  • Celebratory firing at weddings or in public places is now a punishable offence.
  • An offender of the same could face imprisonment of upto two years, fine of ₹1 lakh or both.
  • In December alone, there have been multiple cases of injury or death due to celebratory firing.
There are many quirks at an Indian wedding, some of which are exciting and some of which needed intervention to be banned right away. Falling in the second category is celebratory gun firing where in the midst of all the celebrations, not an uncommon sight in weddings in North India, men fire a few shots in the air.

As controversial as it sounds, it has been a tradition for many years. Well, until now. The Indian government has just made an amendment to The Arms Bill, making celebratory firing an offence.

The bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha and defines celebratory firing as “use of firearms in public gatherings, religious places, marriages or other functions to fire ammunition.” An offender of the same could face imprisonment of upto two years, fine of ₹1 lakh or both.

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Just in the ten days of December, which is the peak wedding month in the country, there have been multiple cases of people being injured or killed due to the firing in the name of celebration. In Bareilly, a man in an inebriated condition ended up injuring four people in the crowd in the name of celebratory firing. In Uttar Pradesh, a 22 year old dancer was shot in the face as she had stopped dancing.

On December 9, as the bill was being passed in the Lok Sabha, a woman was killed in Muzaffarnagar as a man fired shots in celebration. The woman, who had been hired to help the bride through the wedding, was shot in the head.

It can be hoped that with the passing of the bill, weddings will take place without gunshots. But it will be hard to enforce in rural areas where local strongmen including some politicians and their kin see it as a matter of pride and law enforcement is weak.

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