Pro-gun group aims for looser laws

By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 08:56:00 05/31/2010

Filed Under: Police

MANILA, Philippines—A group of gun enthusiasts is countering police calls for an extension of the election gun ban with its own call for laws liberalizing gun ownership.

The Gun Enthusiasts Confederation of the Philippines (GECP) argued that loosening restrictions on firearms ownership would, in fact, deter violence.

GECP president Perry Punla said the group’s “total pro-gun” proposal would prevent rather than spur inappropriate gun use because gun owners would be held liable in court.

Punla also called for simplified regulations on gun ownership. He said a gun owner’s license should likewise be recognized as a permit to bear arms, doing away with the current requirement for firearm owners to obtain separate permits—to own guns and to carry them.

Punla likened a deadly weapon to a car: “To those saying that guns are deadly, that’s the wrong notion because what’s deadly is the person who handles the gun. This is not different from a driver: It’s not the car that kills but the driver.”

Punla said the Philippine National Police (PNP) was undermanned and could not protect all the citizens.

The PNP, on the other hand, is calling for the extension of the gun ban beyond the election period that will end on June 9. The PNP noted that firearms had cost lives even in simple traffic-related quarrels.

At a press conference at Camp Crame last week, PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa clarified that he was not proposing a total gun ban but rather “gun control,” where people would be allowed to carry weapons but under strict controls.

He said the police organization would discuss and propose “innovations” for enhanced gun control legislation during the second National Firearms Control Summit proposed to be held on June 2.

With a report from Jocelyn Uy

Originally appeared: