President Aquino may like to join shootfests but that’s no basis to conclude what his position is on the proposed stricter gun control, Malacañang said Monday.
“Let’s not preempt the President,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, reacting to observations that Mr. Aquino’s participation in shooting competitions would diminish his support for a stricter gun control.
Mr. Aquino topped Sunday’s executive category of the “Games of the Generals” shooting competition at Camp Crame, beating 102 generals and senior police officers.
This prompted speculation that the President would not support calls for stricter gun control or a total gun ban, which were spurred by the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in Caloocan City during the New Year revelry and the killing of eight people by a man in Kawit, Cavite, last week.
The 52-year-old bachelor President has admitted going on target shooting on weekends as part of his recreation.
Valte said Mr. Aquino had always proven his critics wrong by taking a stand on an issue contrary to his personal preferences. Recently, he signed into law a measure imposing taxes on tobacco and liquor even though he’s a smoker.
“The President has defied perception so many times in the past,” Valte said. “What we’ve been saying on the sin tax is no secret, but he still supported the passage and the certification of the sin tax measure into law.”
But whether he would certify the enactment of bills seeking a stricter gun control or a total gun ban is a matter that has to be studied by the President, Valte said.
“There are many proposals —from stricter gun control to proposals for a total gun ban. So that has to be discussed with the President,” she said.
Cancel gun permits
“It depends on what the contents of that law will be. When you say comprehensive firearms law, that would involve everything from the importation, rules for importation, rules for procurement … so we will have to see what is in that proposal,” Valte said.
Valte said proposals to cancel all permits to carry guns outside residences were also being studied.
Gunless Society founder Nandy Pacheco has said the President should cancel all permits to carry guns outside homes pending the approval of a law penalizing the carrying of firearms outside residences by unauthorized persons.
Gunless Society and other groups support the proposed Citizen’s Protection Act of 2010, which seeks to limit the carrying of firearms in public places to people directly and primarily engaged in police, military and security work.