The police will impose stricter firearm control after the Commission on Elections-imposed gun ban ends this week, with emphasis on the issuance of permits.

This was the compromise reached between the Philippine National Police, firearm industry and advocacy groups during the two-day gun summit that ended Saturday.
Imposed on Jan. 10 at the beginning of the election period, the total gun ban ends on June 9. Exempted were uniformed personnel.

“The consensus is that we continue issuing permits but with more stringent control,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director-General Jesus A. Verzosa said during the forum.
For his part, Deputy Director-General Edgardo E. Acuña, PNP deputy chief for operations, said the stricter penalties will target illegal and expired firearm license possessed by criminal and terrorist groups, rebel groups and private armed groups.

“It should be a non-bailable offense,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the event last Friday.

A separate post-summit conference has been planned to be held next week to formulate a more comprehensive gun ownership policy.

In the same forum, a group of pro-gun advocates called A2S5 Coalition pushed for allowing the carrying of licensed firearm outside the confines of the home and business.

“The Filipino should have the privilege to use legitimate and reasonable means to protect himself or herself and business. Inclusive and inherent, to enforce such privilege, the Filipino should be allowed to carry a legitimate and licensed firearm even outside household or place of business,” said Constantino B. Navarro, the group’s interim spokesman.

The coalition derived its name from Article 2, Section 5 of the Constitution, which states: “The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.”

For its part, the Peaceful Responsible Owners of Guns (PROGUN), in a position paper posted on its Web site, sought an amnesty for expired firearm license.
The government can earn at least P910 million with the renewal of almost 600,000 expired licenses, the group claimed.

“This will enable holders of loose firearms to return to the fold of law and for the PNP to get unlicensed firearms off the streets,” the group said.

Source: Business World Online

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