Year-round gun ban in PHL sought

Citing the positive results of the election gun ban last year, a group on Tuesday suggested that the government enforce a year-round gun ban in the country.

In an interview with reporters, Gunless Society of the Philippines secretary-general Norman Cabrera proposed to the Senate that private individuals and even public officials be prohibited from being issued permits to carry firearms.

"The more we limit the movement (of firearms), the more we can control (them)," he said after the day's Senate public order committee's hearing on the proposed bills on the regulation of firearms.

With this, he said that they wish to finally ban guns from public places. He said only police and military personnel on duty should be allowed to carry firearms.

"Dito nakasalalay ang pagkakaroon natin ng mapayapa at maayos na lipunan," he said.

He issued the statement after two of presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas' bodyguards were found to have been carrying a high-powered firearm licensed to him in his absence.

Cabrera said that just like their proposal, Llamas should have just asked for security detail from the police or the military.

Senate bill

A bill filed by Sen. Franklin Drilon is proposing the same.

Under Senate Bill 129, individuals who are not members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (PNP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), and other accredited law enforcement agencies shall be issued permits to carry.

It likewise says that it shall be unlawful for any public official to employ the services of security personnel who are not regular enlisted men and women of the AFP and PNP.

During the day's, Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang-Bukid at Mangingisda (ABA) party-list Rep. Leonardo Montemayor noted that crimes went down during the 2010 election gun ban.

He specifically said that the number of crimes went down from half a million to 152,000 nationwide as compared to the same period in 2009.

Progun secretary general Ernesto Tabujara, however, opposed the gun ban.

Tabujara said that there are currently 1.3 million licensed gun owners in the country.

"We feel that there are already existing laws (for this), the problem is the proper implementation of the law," he said during the hearing.

He likewise said that it is the right of every citizen to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Separate licenses

The Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines (AFADP), meanwhile, proposed that the government just require separate licenses for guns and their owners.

"(We would like to) propose a radical change in the licensing of firearms. (We can) adopt the same system as the Land Transportation Office, (we can) license (the) individual and then you lincense the firearm," AFADP president Nerio Dionisio president said during the same hearing.

"If you are a licensed gun holder, you undergo ballistics so once you use that for a crime eventually it will lead to you... (so) a licensed gun holder will think twice before committing a crime with a gun," Dionisio said in a separate interview with reporters after the hearing.

He likewise said that his proposal will spare gun holders from having to repeatedly register their firearm.

"If you license the indvidual, let's say you license for two years, (the) burden on (the) applicant to produce the same requirements (will be lifted)," he said.

But aside from this, Dionisio's group also suggested during the hearing that gun owners register where their guns are being kept and where they practice marksmanship.

"That way you can track the movement of the firearms," he said.

He also proposed that owners granted permits to transport be required to store their firearms and ammos in separate places in the trunk of their vehicles.

"Any unregistered firearm will mean confiscation of the owner's (other) firearms," he said.

Raul Reyes, legal counsel of the Firearms Manufacturers of the Philippines, said that they are also in the process of formulating their own proposal on licensing of firearms.

Senator Gregorio Honasan, chair of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs, admitted that the current firearm licensing procedures are not enough.

He noted, however, that they will still have to study all the proposals made.

"Kailangan i-sort out ito ng committee. Ang daming inputs, ang daming variables so we would need time na pag-aralan yung submissions," he told reporters after Tuesday's hearing. — RSJ, GMA News