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Firearms proliferation

09:09 AM May 25, 2012

Last Saturday’s shooting of a 14-year-old by an 11-year-old school mate in barangay Pasil underscores the problem of small arms proliferation in the country.

According to the gunshot victim, Mark Rey Abano, a few moments before he got a bullet in the head, he saw the father of the 11-year-old boy give the gun, a paltik .38 revolver, as a “gift”.

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Based on 2011 data from the Philippine National Police, there are about 2 million loose firearms in the country, enough to arm Filipinos against foreign invaders.

But this is not the case. These loose firearms are not being used to make our society secure from lawless elements. They pose a threat to innocent families and national security.

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Not all people who carry guns do so to protect themselves or make our communities safe. Most of them used it to perpetrate violence.

In recent weeks, local headlines have been occupied by shooting incidents, among them the Compostela town fiesta shooting last month that claimed three lives, and the murder of Carl Vinson Apura, son of the Carcar City, during an outdoor village disco.

The gunplay that paralyzed 14-year-old Mark Rey took place in a billiard hall in barangay Pasil. The violence reached absurd proportions with the circumstances of a child as the aggressor. What business does a minor have playing with a loaded gun, and what kind of parent hands him one to play with?

It’s high time the police and local government units make good their often-announced campaigns against loose firearms that seem to benefit more the promotion of officers who claim credit for sporadic confiscations than actually making communities safe.

People should feel secure in their homes, in their communities whether dancing to Lady Gaga’s latest hit or shooting billiard balls.

Police investigators should not take hook, line and sinker the account of the shooter’s mother that her boy found the gun mysteriously left on the floor of the billiard hall.

How did the gun end up in the hands of the mother who surrendered the revolver to the police? The boy didn’t throw it away; he (or the father) took it home to her because it obviously had personal value – the wrong kind that harms another human being unnecessarily.

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