Early end to Comelec gun ban sought by gun owners

COTABATO CITY - Responsible firearm holders are urging authorities, especially the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to lift the gun ban imposed for the May 13 mid-term polls, saying that prolonging the prohibition is "disadvantageous" to decent and peace-loving citizens.

"The political exercises for which the ban has been enforced are over. Responsible gun holders observed it faithfully. Is it not fair to lift the ban and allow them to defend themselves from lawless elements who continue to prey on people rendered defenceless by the ban?" Jimmy, a career official here, asked in an interview on Saturday.

Jimmy, who asked for the withholding of his full identity to speak out freely as a gun license and permit-to-carry (PTC) holder, averred that the ban has "successfully served its purpose among lawful people but not among defiant individuals who even became bolder in committing crimes."

In Metro Manila and other urban areas including this city, he said, dozens of individuals "have been shot dead like chicken" in murders or homicides committed even in places "not far" from police and military detachments or stations.

When asked for comment, Comelec director for ARMM Ray Sumalipao, texted a reply to saying the lifting of election gun ban is on "June 12." No explanation was given.

The Manila Bulletin sought the comment of local and national Comelec officials and police in Region 12 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, but they did not asnwer.

Some journalists covering both regions have armed themselves after the sad plight of 32 colleagues who perished in 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

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