Feb 042013
The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to regulate the use of firearms and ammunition in the country.

Senate Bill 3397 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammuition Regulation Act seeks to appeal sections of Presidential Decree 1866, a section of Republic Act 8294, and other laws, executive orders, letters of instruction, issuances, circulars, administrative orders, rules or regulations concerning firearms and ammunition.

Under the measure, a person must be a Filipino citizen, at least 21 years old, has “gainful” work or business, and has filed an income tax return to qualify and acquire a license to own and possess firearms and ammunition.

The applicant likewise must not be convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude and must have passed a drug test, psychiatric test, and a gun safety seminar.

The bill says that permits to carry firearms outside of the residence shall be issued by the chief of the Philippine National Police or any duly authorized representative to “any qualified person whose life is under actual threat or their lives are in imminent danger due to the nature of their profession, occupation or business.”

“It shall be the burden of the applicant to prove that his life is under actual threat by submitting a threat assessment certificate from the PNP,” it said.

It said that the following professionals are considered to be in imminent danger due to the nature of their profession, occupation or business.

  • members of the Philippine bar
  • certified public accountants
  • accredited media practitioners
  • cashiers, bank tellers
  • priests, ministers, rabbi, imams
  • physicians and nurses
  • engineers
  • businessmen who by the nature of their business or undertaking are exposed to high risk of being targets of criminal elements

Qualified individuals may also apply for a permit to transport registered firearms from his or her residence to firing ranges and competition sites.

On the other hand, any person desiring to manufacture or deal in firearms, parts of firearms or ammunition shall be required to make an application to the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the chief of the PNP.

Under the bill, the penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpatua shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully engage in the manufacture, importation, sale or disposition of a firearm, or ammunition, or a major part of a firearm or ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of a firearm, ammunition, or a major part while reclusion perpetua shall be imposed on any person who shall engage or participate in arms smuggling.

The penalty of prision mayor in its medium period shall likewise be imposed upon any person who shall illegally acquire or possess a small firearm; reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua for possessing three or more small arms of class A light weapons; prision mayor in its maximum period for possessing class A light weapons; and reclusion perpetua for possessing class B light weapons.

The penalty of prision correccional and a fine of P10,000 shall also be imposed upon any person who is licensed to own a firearm but who shall carry the same outside his residence without any legal authority.

SB 3397 also states that the use of a loose firearm, when inherent in the commission of a crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code or other special laws, shall be considered as an “aggravating circumstance.” – VVP, GMA News

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