Instead of a total gun ban, groups on both sides of the gun debate on Thursday urged senators to pass a bill that would enforce stricter gun controls to prevent crimes related to loose firearms. Sen. Gringo Honasan, chairman of the committee on public order, said a “comprehensive” bill that spells out graver penalties for possession of unregistered firearms could still be approved in the nine remaining session days between January and February if President Aquino certifies the bill as urgent. Honasan wants to raise the penalty for illegal gun possession to 12 years imprisonment from the current six to 12 years. Senators urged
At a hearing called by the Honasan meeting Thursday, representatives of the Firearms Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (Famap), Gunless Society of the Philippines, Peaceful Responsible Owners of Guns (ProGun), National Prosecutors League of the Philippines and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) urged senators to work on provisions for tighter gun control. Claiming that illegal firearms are the ones “causing crimes in the country,” Famap’s Gina Marie Angangco said Famap supported “stiffer penalties for unlicensed possession and manufacture.” State prosecutor Ferdinand Parayno argued that a total gun ban would work against the interest of government officials whose lives may be under threat from those who are displeased by their official acts. ‘Privilege subject’
“Gun ownership should be the right of qualified citizens. Gun possession should be a mere privilege subject to the stringent requirements,” he told the committee. Parayno asked senators to study the nuances of the law that absorbs the offense of illegal possession of firearms in a greater offense where an unlicensed gun is used. He said there might be cases when a suspect could be slapped with a separate charge of illegal possession of firearms. Gunless Society’s Norman Cabrera reminded senators that the late President Corazon Aquino certified the Anti-Deadly Weapons bill in 1991. But while the bill was approved in the Senate, it was “gunned down in the House of Representatives.” “For President Aquino, this would be an opportunity to fulfill the task left by his mother,” Cabrera said.
The death of 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella by celebratory gunfire in Caloocan City on New Year’s Eve and the shooting rampage three days later in Kawit town in Cavite province that left eight people dead and 12 others wounded on Friday have drawn attention to a number of gun-control measures that have been rotting in Congress. Nicole’s death and Ronald Bae’s shooting rampage have also led to calls for stricter gun controls and a total gun ban. On Saturday, Roman Catholic bishops added their voices to the calls for a total, permanent gun ban and not only during election periods. Among the gun-control measures gathering dust in Congress is the proposed Citizen’s Protection Act of 2010, filed by prolife groups and signed by 86 Roman Catholic bishops. The signatories to the proposal included former Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Wigberto Tañada. Filed as an “indirect initiative,” the bill would limit carrying of firearms in public places to “those directly and primarily engaged in police, military and security matters.” “Possession by civilians or private persons of such deadly weapons is not a matter of right,” it said. “It assumes the predominance in our society of the law of the jungle tacitly encouraging a ‘war of all against all’ and ‘every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost’ rather than indicating trust in the government and our duly constituted authorities,” the bill said. “Society can take no shorter route to anarchy than this road,” it said. No action taken
Two years since the proposal was filed, Congress has yet to take action, said JC de los Reyes, president of Ang Kapatiran Party, one the petitioners. “Culture always cascades from the top and when you have a gun collector for a...
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