Plan to allow citizens own high-powered rifles concerns senators

Plan to allow citizens own high-powered rifles concerns senators

/ 01:07 AM March 07, 2024

PHOTO: Imee Marcos STORY: Plan to allow citizens own high-powered rifles concerns senators

Sen. Imee Marcos (File photo from the Senate Public Relations and Information Bureau)

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Wednesday expressed their concern about the decision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ease civilian ownership of high-powered firearms like rifles, saying that it will compromise public safety.

In a statement, Sen. Imee Marcos said that such a decision might prompt a spike in criminality and widespread violence in the country, among others, especially during the upcoming 2025 elections.


“The PNP is shooting itself in the foot and compromising law enforcement efficiency and, above all, public safety,” she said.


“When killings occur, penalties for firearm misuse will offer nothing but cold comfort to the families of victims — policemen, soldiers, and civilians included,” Marcos added.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros likewise said that in this time of rampant killings and conflict, the country needs stronger regulations on gun ownership and against the “proliferation of firearms in our streets.”

“Hoarding high-powered weapons should not be a hobby, much less one enabled by law. Our society, families, and schools would be much safer if there were fewer firearms that could be used to kill or commit other crimes,” she said, speaking partly in Filipino.

The PNP recently announced that there would be adjustments in the current implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition (Republic Act No. 10591), which will allow civilians to own and get licenses for high-powered weapons.

These weapons include M-14 rifles and other semi-automatic ones with a 7.62mm caliber and below.

READ: Civilians may soon buy semi-automatic rifles


Hontiveros countered that the Act should be amended to have “tighter, not looser,” gun control, as it currently enables so-called “gun collectors” to acquire more than 15 high-powered weapons without explicit restrictions.

“We should not allow anyone, especially politicians, business persons, and their personnel, to own so many guns. We must fix our gun laws and stop the rise of political killings and warlordism in our country,” she stressed.

Marcos added that the PNP’s adjustments would complicate the responsibility of the government to “decommission rebel firearms.”

In November last year, she filed Senate Resolution 321, which calls for an investigation into the delay in the decommissioning of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces and its weapons.

“Do we want a proliferation of shooting violence like in the [United States]? Who is lobbying for firearms manufacture and imports?” Marcos asked.

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The PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo, said on Monday that the amendments in the IRR have already been submitted to the University of the Philippines Law Center for publication and shall take effect 15 days after it is published.

TAGS: gun ownership, Imee Marcos, Philippine National Police

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