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7, 2013

NR # 3008

Intensified and non-stop campaign against loose firearms pushed

Lawmakers have challenged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct continuing and proactive operations against loose firearms even as they expressed concern over the recent spate of shooting incidents involving unlicensed firearms. Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), a retired police general, called for a preventive solution to the problem of loose firearms. It is my firm stand that concerned agencies should strongly conduct continuing and proactive operations against loose firearms that are proliferating in our country, Bataoil said. Before another shooting rampage happens again, before another indiscriminate shooting happens again, let us find all these loose firearms once and for all, Bataoil, one of the authors of House Bill 5484, said. We already have existing laws and in the absence of any other amending laws, all we need is to implement the law without fear, favor or mercy, Bataoil added. House Bill 5484, approved by the House and passed on third reading by Senate, provides for a comprehensive regulation of firearms, light weapons and ammunitions and penalties, repealing for the purpose Presidential Decree 1866. Rep. Angelo Palmones (Party-list, AGHAM), another co-author, said the measure should be passed immediately. It is really high time to impose a stiffer penalty for those who are caught with unlicensed firearms as well as those owners of licensed firearms who use their guns indiscriminately, Palmones said. According to Palmones, many of the licensed gun holders did not go through the step by step licensing procedures. He said one can buy a gun complete with license without undergoing a neuro-examination to determine if he is psychologically qualified to even own a gun. This is a challenge to the PNP, especially the Firearms and Explosives Office. The policies, step by step procedures and the requirements must be implemented strictly, Palmones said. We have sound policies, we have strict regulations. If these were only implemented to the letter and if there is no corruption, we wouldnt have problem of loose firearms, Palmones added. (30) jsc