Instead of a total gun ban, groups on both sides of the gun debate on Thursday urged senators to pass a bill that would enforce stricter gun controls to prevent crimes related to loose firearms. Sen. Gringo Honasan, chairman of the committee on public order, said a “comprehensive” bill that spells out graver penalties for possession of unregistered firearms could still be approved in the nine remaining session days between January and February if President Aquino certifies the bill as urgent. Honasan wants to raise the penalty for illegal gun possession to 12 years imprisonment from the current six to 12 years. Senators urged
At a hearing called by the Honasan meeting Thursday, representatives of the Firearms Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (Famap), Gunless Society of the Philippines, Peaceful Responsible Owners of Guns (ProGun), National Prosecutors League of the Philippines and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) urged senators to work on provisions for tighter gun control. Claiming that illegal firearms are the ones “causing crimes in the country,” Famap’s Gina Marie Angangco said Famap supported “stiffer penalties for unlicensed possession and manufacture.” State prosecutor Ferdinand Parayno argued that a total gun ban would work against the interest of government officials whose lives may be under threat from those who are displeased by their official acts. ‘Privilege subject’
“Gun ownership should be the right of qualified citizens. Gun possession should be a mere privilege subject to the stringent requirements,” he told the committee. Parayno asked senators to study the nuances of the law that absorbs the offense of illegal possession of firearms in a greater offense where an unlicensed gun is used. He said there might be cases when a suspect could be slapped with a separate charge of illegal possession of firearms. Gunless Society’s Norman Cabrera reminded senators that the late President Corazon Aquino certified the Anti-Deadly Weapons bill in 1991. But while the bill was approved in the Senate, it was “gunned down in the House of Representatives.” “For President Aquino, this would be an opportunity to fulfill the task left by his mother,” Cabrera said.
The death of 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella by celebratory gunfire in Caloocan City on New Year’s Eve and the shooting rampage three days later in Kawit town in Cavite province that left eight people dead and 12 others wounded on Friday have drawn attention to a number of gun-control measures that have been rotting in Congress. Nicole’s death and Ronald Bae’s shooting rampage have also led to calls for stricter gun controls and a total gun ban. On Saturday, Roman Catholic bishops added their voices to the calls for a total, permanent gun ban and not only during election periods. Among the gun-control measures gathering dust in Congress is the proposed Citizen’s Protection Act of 2010, filed by prolife groups and signed by 86 Roman Catholic bishops.
The signatories to the proposal included former Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Wigberto Tañada. Filed as an “indirect initiative,” the bill would limit carrying of firearms in public places to “those directly and primarily engaged in police, military and security matters.” “Possession by civilians or private persons of such deadly weapons is not a matter of right,” it said. “It assumes the predominance in our society of the law of the jungle tacitly encouraging a ‘war of all against all’ and ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ rather than indicating trust in the government and our duly constituted authorities,” the bill said. “Society can take no shorter route to anarchy than this road,” it said. No action taken
Two years since the proposal was filed, Congress has yet to take action, said JC de los Reyes, president of Ang Kapatiran Party, one the petitioners. “Culture always cascades from the top and when you have a gun collector for a president, can you expect a culture of roses?” De los Reyes told the Inquirer, referring to President Aquino, a gun enthusiast. In a letter to the President the following year, the petitioners asked Mr. Aquino to certify the bill as urgent so it could be immediately approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. “The bill will make the harmless act of carrying a gun in public places a criminal offense (mala prohibita) before such harmless act turns into a violent crime,” the petitioners told the President.
“Mr. President, we look to your leadership to help us realize our collective dream of genuine peace,” the signatories added. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the government should consider a total gun ban to ensure the safety of unarmed Filipinos. “Maybe it’s for the government to study,” Palma said in an interview. “There may be some people who may be allowed in some circumstances [to carry firearms] but in general, the spirit [of the proposal] is good,” he said. “We have to consider what the others say when they claim the right to protect themselves [but] as I said, in principle, the gun ban is in the spirit of peace and protection, especially of the innocent,” Palma said. The Catholic bishops’ president said the government should be strict in issuing licenses to own guns and permits to carry and really crack down on unlicensed firearms.
Gospel of life
Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes said the bishops were “saddened” by the tragedy in Cavite, where Bae, a former barangay captain, went on a drug-fueled shooting spree on Friday morning. Bae had killed eight people, including two children, and wounded 12 others before police arrived and shot him dead in an exchange of gunfire. “We are saddened because this happened,” Reyes said. “We thought these things happen only in the US. Now it’s starting to happen here.”
Reyes also called for stricter gun controls.
“I’m not an expert in safety, but at least there must be more control,” he said. Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said he supported a total gun ban because it ran in line with the Church’s “prolife position.” “We support a total gun ban. We proclaim the gospel of life versus the culture of death,” Oliveros said. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yñiguez also favors a total gun ban that is permanent, not just during elections. “I’m in favor of the gun ban. Only the police and the military may carry guns but they should also be regulated,” Yñiguez said. Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes and Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said they, too, supported a total gun ban. And Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, former CBCP president, said there should be a campaign for “responsible and moral use of guns.” “That covers both legally and illegally acquired guns,” Lagdameo said.
No more time
But Sen. Gregorio Honasan said on Saturday that the current Congress did not have enough time to enact tighter gun controls. Honasan said, however, that his committee on public order and dangerous drugs would review existing gun laws, consolidate related pending bills and conduct public hearings on gun controls when sessions resume on Jan. 21 “I’m not optimistic that we can pass a law before the recess,” Honasan said. “The best effort is that we can review existing laws and consolidate these bills and come up with a report, which the next Congress can use as basis [for a new law or amendments to gun laws],” he said. The 15th Congress has only three weeks and nine session days to work starting Jan. 21 to Feb. 8. Then it goes on recess to give way to the campaign for the midterm elections in May.
Suspend all permits
Sen. Panfilo Lacson proposed to the government the suspension of all permits to carry in the wake of Bae’s shooting spree. Lacson, a former national police chief, said only uniformed police officers on actual duty should be allowed to carry firearms. Intelligence officers need not carry firearms because their missions call for covert operations, Lacson said. Related to the indirect initiative bill in the House is a proposal filed by Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo.
Their proposed “Child Safety Firearms Act” would “reduce if not eliminate injuries and deaths caused by accidental firearm shootings by children by making sure safety devices are in place in firearms a condition before they can be sold or imported.” A firearm, for instance, should include a device or mechanism preventing a “child [under] 7 years of age from discharging the firearm by reason of the amount of strength, dexterity, cognitive skill or other ability required to cause a discharge.” The device should also keep a “removable magazine from discharging when the magazine has been removed.”
Fewer potential suspects
Under pressure to find the man who fired the .45-caliber bullet that killed Nicole, the Caloocan police has narrowed down the number of potential suspects from 45 to 32 gun owners who live in Barangay Malaria in Caloocan City. Supt. Jackie Candelario, Caloocan police spokesperson, said Saturday that the lower number represented the owners of .45-caliber pistols who lived within a 50-meter radius from the spot where Nicole fell after being hit on New Year’s Eve. Police reconstructed on Thursday night the trajectory of the bullet.
According to Candelario, police learned from the reconstruction that the bullet that hit Nicole traveled a distance of 50 meters. Candelario said the potential suspects include former soldier Juan Agus, who had admitted to firing a .45-caliber pistol on New Year’s Eve. Ballistic tests showed the bullet that killed Nicole was not fired from Agus’ gun, Candelario said. But Agus and three drinking buddies who also fired his gun face investigation by the City Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether the charges of alarm and scandal filed against them could be upgraded to reckless impudence resulting in homicide.
Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian went to the wake for Nicole on Saturday and gave P200,000 to add to the bounty for the arrest of the person who fired the bullet that killed the little girl. Gatchalian also opened a Facebook account, Justice for Nicole, for details on how to help find the gun owner. “A bigger bounty might help in the swifter attainment of justice. We are opening an account for those who want to help, with the option for the funds you donate to be returned within six months if the culprit is not found,” Gatchalian said. With reports from Norman Bordadora and Kristine Felisse Mangunay
BASIC FIREARMS LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS
a. Applicable provisions of Republic Act No. 8294
Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows: “Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunitions – The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less that Fifteen Thousand pesos(P15,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose or possess any low-powered firearm such as rim fire handgun, 380 or 32 and other firearm of similar firepower, part of firearm, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided that no other crime was committed.”
“The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of Thirty Thousand pesos (30,000.00) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high-powered firearm which includes those with bores bigger in diameter that .38 caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber 40, 41,44, 45 and also lesser calibered firearms but considered powerful such as caliber 357 and caliber .22 center fire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by burst of two or three: Provided however, That no other crime was committed by the person arrested.” b. Applicable provisions of Republic Act No. 8294
Section 2. Presidential Decree No. 1866. Presumption of illegal Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition – The possession of any machinery, tool or instrument used directly in the manufacture of firearms or ammunition, by any person whose business or employment does not lawfully deal with the manufacture of firearms or ammunition, shall be prima facie evidence that such article is intended to be used in the unlawful/illegal manufacture of firearms or ammunition. Section 7. Presidential Decree No. 1866. Unauthorized issuance of Authority to Carry Firearm and/or Ammunition Outside of Residence – The penalty of prision correccional shall be imposed upon any person, civilian or military, who shall issue authority firearm and/or ammunition outside of residence, without authority therefore.
“Firearm” as herein used, includes rifles, muskets, carbines, shotguns, revolvers, pistols and all other deadly weapons from which a bullet, ball, shot, shall or other missile may be discharged by means of gunpowder or other explosives. The term also includes air rifles and air pistols not classified as toys under the provisions of Executive Order No. 712 dated 28 July 1981. The barrel of any firearm shall be considered a complete firearm. “Ammunition” – refers to loaded shells for rifles, muskets, carbines, shotguns, revolvers, pistols and other firearms from which a bullet, ball, shot, shall or other missile may be fired by means of gunpowder of explosives.
”Permit To Carry Firearm Outside of Residence” – is written authority issued to any person by the Chief of Constabulary which entitles such person o carry his licensed or lawfully issued firearms outside of residence for the duration and purpose specified therein. “Residence” – refers to that place where the firearm and ammunition is being permanently kept. It includes the office or house where it is kept and premises of the house enclosed by walls and gates separating said premises from adjacent properties. For firearms covered by a Regular License or Special Permit their residence shall be hat specified in the license or permit; and those covered by a Certificate of Registration or a Memorandum Receipt their residence in the office/station to which the grantee belongs.
NUMBER AND TYPES OF FIREARMS THAT MAY BE POSSESSED
1. Each individual may hold under license a maximum of only one (1) low-powered rifle caliber 22 or shotgun not heavier than 12 gauge and one (1) pistol or revolver, not higher than caliber .38 except caliber .357 and caliber .22 center fire magnum and those which may later be classified by the Chief, Philippine National Police (C, PNP) as high-powered regardless of the type, make or caliber. 2. Officers and non-commissioned police officers enlisted personnel in the active service and in the retired list of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) may hold under license a maximum of only one (1) low powered rifle caliber .22 or shotgun not heavier than 12 gauge and one (1) sidearm of any type or caliber. 3. Commissioned Officers in good standing of the Reserve Force of the AFP who are on inactive status may hold under license a maximum of only one (1) low-powered rifle caliber .22 or shotgun not heavier than 12 gauge and one (1) sidearm not heavier than caliber .45, except caliber .357 and caliber .22 center fire magnum and those which may later be classified by the C, PNP as high-powered regardless of the type, make and caliber.
LEGAL SOURCES OF FIREARMS
1. Firearms may be procured/purchased from any of the following sources:
a. Licensed firearm holder, through transfer or sale
b. Licensed firearm holder, through purchase
c. Importation/Purchase Abroad
2. If the firearm was acquired through transfer or sale from a duly licensed holder, the firearm should be delivered by the transfer/vendor to the transferee/buyer only after the latter has secured the corresponding license. 3. The importation or purchase of firearms and ammunition abroad by individual has been suspended by order of the President (SOP Nr 13 dated September 19, 1991). c. General Policies on Possession of Firearms by Diplomats
SUBJECT: Possession of Firearms by Diplomats in the Philippines TO: Chief Philippine Constabulary
Camp Crame, Quezon City
a. Sections 887 and 888, Revised Administrative Code. b. G. O. 7-B, SOP dated 17 January 1973.
b. Purpose: This letter prescribes the guidance in the possession of firearms by diplomats in the Philippines. c. Definition: Diplomats shall include ambassadors, consuls, ministers, attaches and secretaries of foreign mission in the Philippines including representatives of the United Nations. d. General Policies on Firearms:
c. Under our present laws, the possession of firearms by foreigners shall be in accordance with pertinent rules and regulations promulgated by competent authority.
Are you in favor of Gun Ban here in the Philippines?
If a total gun ban were to be implemented, everything legal about guns will go underground. Instead of a million loose firearms, it will be two million within 12 months (exagerated but you know what I mean) Gun Conrtol is also a form of control by Governments. Governments with agenda’s that fear a backlash from armed civilians if their laws and policies are not agreed upon. (meaning they will be less likely to force unfavorable policies onto the public if they fear the public, they become a more negotiable government, more transparent) I would agree that gun laws needs to be reviewed, but with the emphasis of stream lining the process and making it easier to register FA, by doing this, the illegal gun market will struggle. It will not be as lucrative as before/now (although the illegal market will always be frequented by criminals) as honest law abiding citizens will be more attracted to legally registering their fire arms.
I understand some plights of the anti-gun lobbiests, but most of the issues they bring foward can be addressed with public safety awareness campaigns (gun safety). Education and training is the key point to gun safety. Like others have said, guns do not kill, people do. Guns make it easier to kill but no easier than intentional ramming a speeding vehicle into a crowded area. Infact you can pack cars with all sorts of nasties with intent for mass destruction – now should there be a vehicle ban during elections – or motorcycle ban (oftern used for hit & runs against a target)? Obvioulsy if the Government elected (as intelligent as they are) fails to adhere to common sense and reason and still goes a head and pass such a law on guns, then I can only think of a hidden agenda.
With the current securtiy climate in the Philippines coupled with an unreliable system that is suppose to protect the law abiding citizen, a total gun ban law for law abiding citizens is an insult to the laws of self preservation. here’s a thought….maybe impose a gun ban on criminals!? hmmm silly people. It would be nice to have strict gun laws in a country governed by an administration that is clear and tranparent and is not dynasty based. An administration willing to negotiate with the public that they serve rather than implement laws that facilitate plunder by officals. Until Philippines reaches that level of enlightenment, then I am PRO GUN! neither the Church or the Government can stop someone raping and murdering my famliy. That burden belongs to me. gun ban? NO-NO!
Submitted by kurdz on Tue, 06/01/2010 – 12:44. some questions for the gun ban advocates, with due respect to the law enforcement agencies: 1. could the law enforcers always predict when an armed violence will occur, or when an unarmed prey falls into the hands of an armed criminal? 2. will the police always be there to protect us before we be victims of criminal elements? 3. should we helplessly watch our homes ransacked, our families hurt if not killed, when armed perpetrators attack us? well, these are but only a few of the citizens’ questions onl security none can answer with a direct YES. hence, the idea of a permanent gun ban in the country should be brushed aside. allow us to enjoy our rights protect our properties, homes, families and ourselves. allow us to arm ourselves, legally own and carry guns. if the criminals could arm themselves, so MUST we.
A permanent total gunban, definitely, will not prevent criminal elements from obtaining weapons. Ironically, this may even cause the increase of crime in the country – and this instead will “reward” criminals superiority over us, the ordinary citizens, as it will leave us defenseless against gunwielding criminals. Giving us privilege to own guns legally will even allow us to do our part in preventing criminals from doing their evil deeds. What the PNP must do instead is to educate those who are going to acquire guns for home defense and self-defense on the responsibilities of the person-holding-the-gun, and proper discipline in gun handling.