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Palace mulls total ban on firecrackers, guns


12:42 AM January 5th, 2013


Amid the public outrage over the death from New Year celebratory gunfire of 7-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella, Malacañang has received proposals for an absolute ban on firecrackers and a total gun ban, according to deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte.

Given the amount of commentary and reactions to Nicole’s tragic death, both proposals will have to be discussed with President Aquino, Valte said.

She said there was a proposal to have a total gun ban in place for the May 2013 elections, while others proposed that the ban should also be implemented during the Christmas holidays.

Valte dismissed suggestions that a proposal for a total gun ban would get nowhere because this would not be acceptable to Mr. Aquino, an avid gun enthusiast who shoots for sport.

“I think that is an unwarranted assumption,” she said.

“By way of analogy, the President is a smoker but he pushed very hard for the sin tax (reform bill), so that is the basis for why I am able to say that it is an unwarranted assumption,” she said.

Also on Friday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the government should consider suspending all permits to carry firearms outside residences after a man ran amuck with a .45-caliber pistol in Kawit, Cavite, killing eight people, including one child and the gunman himself.

Only uniformed police officers on actual duty status should be allowed to carry firearms, said Lacson, a former national police chief.

He said even intelligence officers need not bear arms “since their mission calls for covert operations, anyway.”

Misplaced perception

“The misplaced perception that the one seen with a firearm tucked in his waist could be a law enforcer instead of a criminal element out to commit a crime must be reversed. Anybody with a firearm concealed or otherwise must be reported to the authorities without doubt,” the senator said.

Lacson, who is from Cavite, said he was heading in this policy direction when he was national police chief in 1999, during which he limited the issuance of permits to carry firearms outside residences.

Sen. Loren Legarda said she has always advocated controlling gun possession among private individuals.

“I’m actually for a gunless society and I’ve always said that should be done,” Legarda said.

Only responsible and on-duty officers of the uniformed services should carry guns, she said.

Strict implementation

Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, said there are already enough gun control laws.

“We have tight controls under existing laws and regulations. What is wanting is strict implementation,” he said.

Still, Escudero said he was for a gun ban being imposed during the holiday season, “especially New Year’s Eve.”

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