New gun control law to take effect in September

By Cecille Suerte Felipe, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 27 2013 12:44 AM | Updated as of Jul 27 2013 08:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A new law on gun control requires gunsmiths to have licenses for them to repair registered firearms.

This is one of the salient points in the newly approved Republic Act 10591, also known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, which will take effect in September, four months after President Aquino signed it on May 29.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, chief of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) said his unit has the authority to regulate gunsmiths.

“When we say gunsmiths, they are persons who repair guns, not manufacturers of firearms. Those (gun manufacturers) in Danao are not considered different (case), but they are not mentioned in RA 10591,” Petrasanta told The STAR.

He said the FEO and the stakeholders are now working on the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), which would define the specifics of RA 10591 and hope to meet the 120- day deadline.

The IRR will not legalize any illegal activities but just regulate firearms in the hands of ordinary civilians.

The manufacturing of paltik gun, for instance, is common in Danao and Cebu, but most gun makers do not have licenses for their trade. Paltiks are guns made out of scrap metal and bits of angle iron manufactured inside home premises.

Both locally manufactured and imported firearms must also be registered as mandated by the new law.

Petrasanta said gun stores are also required to have a license for the purchase and sale of guns, as well as general businesses handling firearms and ammunitions.

RA 10591 requires gun owners to renew their licenses every two years on or before the date of expiration. If they fail to renew their licenses, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will revoke them and this means confiscation of the firearm.

Under the law, the registration of the firearm shall be renewed every four years. Failure to renew registration on or before the date of expiration will cause the revocation of license. The gun will then be confiscated or forfeited in favor of the government.

Failure to renew a license or registration within the periods mandated by the new law on two occasions will also cause the holder of the firearm to be perpetually disqualified from applying for any firearm license.

The application for the renewal of the license or registration may be submitted to the FEO of the PNP, six months before the date of the expiration of such license or registration.

The new law will take effect 15 days from its publication in a newspaper of nationwide circulation.

RA 10591 also states that guns carried outside residence or place of business must be covered by a permit to carry (PTC) firearms.

The law states that a qualified person may apply for a PTC, if he or she is under actual threat or is in imminent danger due to the nature of his or her profession, occupation or business.

The new law also allows professionals, such as lawyers or members of the Philippine Bar, certified public accountants, accredited media practitioners, cashiers, bank tellers, priests, ministers, rabbis and imams, physicians, nurses, and engineers, considered in imminent danger due to the nature of their profession, occupation or business to carry firearm.

Businessmen who, by nature of their business or undertaking, are exposed to the high risk of being targets of criminal elements may also apply for PTC.

The PNP said the new gun law recognizes the right of qualified citizens to self-defense through the use of firearms, under certain circumstances.

The standard requirements for an applicant for a gun license are: Filipino citizen, at least 21 years old, and has gained full work occupation or business or has filed an income tax return for the preceding year as proof of income, profession, business or occupation.

“Applicant must also submit certifications issued by appropriate authorities attesting, among others, that he or she has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude; passed the psychiatric test administered by a PNP-accredited psychologist or psychiatrist; passed the drug test conducted by an accredited and authorized drug testing laboratory or clinic; and passed a gun safety seminar administered by the PNP or a registered and authorized gun club,” the law states.

The other requirement is that the applicant should not have been convicted, or is currently an accused in a pending criminal case for a crime punishable with a penalty of more than two years.

Firearms for use in sports and competitions also require licensing.

The PNP chief, through the FEO, will issue licenses to qualified individuals and cause the registration of firearms. – Cecille Suerte Felipe