SC to Palace: Answer plea vs new gun control law

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 01 2014 03:52 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2014 11:52 PM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC), during its first summer en banc session this year in Baguio City, directed Malacanan to respond to the petition filed by two licensed gun owners against several provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013).

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, and several ranking police officials, who have been named respondents in the petition of Eric Acosta and Nathaniel Dela Paz, have been given 10 days, upon receipt of notice, to file their comment.

Acosta and Dela Paz's petition urged the high court to declare as unconstitutional several provisions of RA No. 10591 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR):

SEC 4 (G) of the law, insofar as it disqualifies an individual with a pending criminal case from securing a license to own and possess a firearm and to actually own and possess a firearm.

Petitioners said this runs counter to the presumption of innocence, and showed government's failure to distinguish those merely accused of an offense or crime from those already convicted.

Sec 10 and 26 of the law, insofar as they prohibit ownership of a light weapon from being passed through succession.

Sec 7.3 of the IRR, insofar as it omits engineers as among the individuals exempted from the requirement of a threat assessment.

Sec 7.12, insofar as it prohibits the carrying of a firearm inside places of worship and all other commercial or public establishments. Petitioners said this contradicts Sec 7 of the permit to carry firearm outside of residence (PTCFOR) which states that "a permit to carry firearms outside of residence shall be issued by the Chief of the PNP or his/her duly authorized representative to any qualified person."

Petitioners pointed out that this section does not mention any exemption such as places of worship and public establishments.

Acosta and Dela Paz also assailed the new rule on the execution of a waiver on warrantless searches.

Another petition against the new gun control law is pending with the high court, filed by the Peaceful Respondent Owners of Guns, Inc. (Progun).