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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ease of gun ownership may trigger rise of criminality, senators warn

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SENATOR Francis Tolentino has appealed to the government particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go slow in the issuance of high-powered firearms that may contribute to increase in crimes.

“You should choose the right people who can possess  and carry this kind of gun,” Tolentino said in a media briefing.

“Slow down as to peace and order,” Tolentino added as he urged a review of the legitimacy of the new PNP policy on gun ownership.

“We should have stricter norms on those who can possess semi-automatic rifles.” he said.

Senators Imee Marcos and Risa Hontiveros also warned against the rise in criminality, terrorism, arms smuggling, and violence in the 2025 elections amid the ease on civilian ownership of semi-automatic rifles.

The PNP recently announced amendments in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.

The changes allowed issuance of civilian licenses for M-14 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons with a caliber of 7.62mm and below.

Marcos noted that the PNP was “shooting itself in the foot” and compromising law enforcement efficiency and, above all, public safety.

“Do we want a proliferation of shooting violence like in the U.S.? Who is lobbying for firearms manufacture and imports?” she asked.

The senator added that the PNP’s recent changes to the IRR of the firearms and ammunition law will complicate the government’s task of decommissioning rebel firearms.

The “glacial pace” of accomplishing the task led Marcos to call for an ongoing   investigation through Senate Resolution 321 filed in November last year.

“When killings occur, penalties for firearm misuse will offer nothing but cold comfort to the families of victims – policemen, soldiers, and civilians included,” the senator said.

Hontiveros said hoarding high-powered weapons should not be a hobby, much less one enabled by law.

She indicated that peace and order would be much better with the reduction   of guns in the hands of civilians.

“It is clear that the law on gun ownership in the Philippines has to be reviewed,” she noted.

In this time of rampant killings and conflicts, she stressed that the country needed stronger regulations against the proliferation of guns in the streets.

“We must address the broken provisions of the law, which currently enable certain persons to own many high powered weapons,” she said.

“We need to amend Sec. 9, Article III of Republic Act 10591 – which allows so-called “gun collectors” to amass more than fifteen firearms without much explicit restrictions – and move in the direction of tighter, not looser, gun control.”

Hontiveros pointed out that nobody should be allowed to go on a shopping spree for guns.

“We should not allow anyone, especially politicians, businessmen and their personnel, to own so many guns.   We must fix our gun laws, and stop the rise of political killings and warlordism in our country,” the senator said.


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