A GROUP has asked the Supreme Court to stop the gun ban that the Commission on Elections started implementing on Sunday as part of the security preparations for the May 9 local and national elections.
The pro-gun group Go Act, through its president Eric Acosta, said the Comelec was violating the constitutional rights of licensed gun owners with its gun ban as well as Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act of 2013.
Go Act vice president and legal counsel Rodrigo Moreno and the group’s board member Nathaniel Paz joined Acosta as co-petitioners.
The Go Act group filed its petition even as a spokesman said the police caught at least 16 people and seized 15 firearms and ammunition in various checkpoints around the country following the imposition of the gun ban on Sunday.
Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said 11 of those arrested on Monday were civilians and a security guard.
He said two civilians were also held at a military checkpoint in Sulu on Monday.
Acosta, Moreno and Paz said RA 10591 gave the holders of gun permits the permission to carry firearms outside their residences, but the gun ban prohibited them from doing so.
“Petitioners are challenging the election gun ban imposed by the Comelec under Resolution Number 10015,” Acosta and company said in their petition.
“It is clear that RA 10591 has amended or repealed the Omnibus Election Code and other laws relating to the bearing of firearms during elections. Hence, [the] Comelec is required by law to exempt private citizens who are PTCFOR [permit to carry firearms outside of residence] holders from the gun ban in order to respect their right to carry their firearms outside their residence.”
Go Act is said to have 1,000 members who are all licensed gun owners. The group claims that the gun ban gives “unwarranted special treatment” to some government officials while private citizens are not exempted from coverage.
“While [the] Comelec claims that only the PNP, AFP and other law enforcers are exempt from the gun ban, the Comelec has granted exemptions to government officials who are not engaged in actual enforcement and security work, such as judges and justices, DoJ and Ombudsman prosecutors, the Solicitor General and Chief Public Attorney, and all Cabinet Secretaries…” the petitioners said.
They asked the high court to compel the Comelec to grant private citizens with gun permits exemptions from the gun ban in all elections.