PNP to hold summit on gun control

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to hold a gun control summit before the end of this month to determine whether or not the nationwide gun ban will either be extended or become permanent.

The gun ban is set to be lifted when the election period ends on June 9 but Director General Jesus Verzosa, PNP chief, said they have been receiving calls from various sectors to make the policy a permanent one.

“We have been receiving good feedbacks about this because they say it’s an effective deterrent to crime but let’s see . . . we still have to hold the second National Firearms Control summit for us to hear the opinions of all sectors concerned,” said Verzosa.

The gun summit is expected to be participated in by various sectors, from the academe to gun owners and gun dealers, like what happened when it was first held in Camp Crame last year.

While the gun ban implementation reduced crime incidents and election-related violence, the proposal to extend or to make the policy permanent is expected to be opposed by advocates of responsible gun ownership and gun dealers.

“We want to hear every opinion especially from those who support the proposal and from those who would oppose it. We hope we would come up with a middle ground on this,” said Verzosa.

Based on the present gun ban policy, all permits to carry firearms outside residence are suspended until the election period ends on June 9. Only policemen and soldiers in uniform are allowed to carry guns outside their homes.

Nearly 3,000 people have already been arrested since January 10, with the operation resulting in the confiscation of more than 2,500 high-powered firearms and handguns.

Those arrested included 102 policemen and at least 63 soldiers. All of them are expected to be slapped with administrative charges aside from the criminal case of violating the Omnibus Election Code on illegal possession of firearms that will also be leveled against them before civilian courts.

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