PNP starts crackdown on loose firearms ahead of 2013 electionsBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is starting to crack down on loose firearms ahead of the coming 2013 midterm elections.
Chief Inspector Nelson Bautista, Section Chief of Inspection and Enforcement Section, Firearms and Explosive Office, told reporters Tuesday that there are at least 610,000 firearms whose licenses have expired as of August 2012.
When asked about the number of guns that were never registered because they were bought illegally, Bautista said that he could not speak on that matter because it was covered by a different department.
There were 1,592,000 registered firearms, Bautista said. These included “private individuals, juridical entities, and security personnel.”
When asked what areas had the most number of registered and unrenewed gun licenses, he said they have yet to breakdown their data.
“The moment the gun license expires, it can already be considered loose firearms,” Bautista said citing the legal opinion of the Justice Department.
Gun owners however are allowed a grace period of six months to renew their gun licenses, Bautista said.
But if an owner is caught with an expired license, the owner can be charged with illegal possession of firearms, he added.
If the license will still not be renewed after the set grace period, it may become the subject of police operations such as a search warrant.
He said however that they duly informed gun owners about the expiration of their licenses and urged them to renew papers. Bautista added that revoked gun licenses may still be renewed subject to fines and penalties.
Gun owners with expired gun licenses would face higher penalties come election period since there will be a gun ban, Bautista said.
When asked about the limit of guns an individual may possess, he said there was no limit. He clarified that they conduct background checks and investigations on individuals who register more than one gun.
He said that there were certain individuals, like gun enthusiasts and competitive shooters, who seek licenses for their many guns.