Legarda says civilians should not carry firearms
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda is pushing for a tighter gun control, stressing that civilians should not be allowed to carry firearms.
Legarda made the call in light of the string of gun-related incidents particularly the death of two children due to stray bullets during the New Year’s Eve revelry.
“It is high time that we enact bold and encompassing gun control reforms in this country,” Legarda said in a statement.
“Let us heighten monitoring, ensure that there are no loose firearms, and impose stricter punishment on those who violate our rules and regulations. Furthermore, we must seriously look into revoking permits to carry firearms issued to civilians,” she stressed.
During the usual festivities associated with welcoming the New Year, as much as 40 people were injured by stray bullets, Legarda said citing reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Among the victims were Stephanie Nicole Ella, 7, from Caloocan city and Ranjilo Nemer, 4, from Mandaluyong City. Both died from their injuries.
Ella was comatose for at least a day due to the bullet that could not be immediately removed from her head. She suffered several cardiac arrests when she was in the intensive care unit of the East Avenue Medical Center, but doctors were able to revive her. Her parents eventually asked the doctors to stop trying to revive Ella to end her suffering.
Police are still conducting investigations to determine who owned the gun that killed Ella.
Nemer was accidentally hit in the head and body by a sumpak (homemade shot gun) as he stepped outside of their house to go to the bathroom. The suspect, identified by authorities as Emmanuel Janabon, was still the subject of manhunt operations.
Legarda said that the death of two children due to guns during the New Year’s Eve revelry was “disheartening because not even one person should have been injured or killed through such senseless acts,” she noted.
“Let us all take the time to reflect on the recent trends of violence that have plagued not only the Philippines, but other countries as well. Aspiring for a gunless society is a step towards achieving genuine peace, and we must all do our part in making this happen,” Legarda said.
On Friday last week, Ronald Bae of Kawit, Cavite, went on a shooting rampage that killed eight people and injured 12 other before he was shot down by police.
Bae had reportedly owned an AK-47 assault rifle, and M-16 rifle, and a Sig Sauer .45 caliber pistol, all licensed with the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office.
The .45 caliber pistol he used in the shooting was unlicensed, police had said.
Non-government organization, Gunless Society, as well as the Roman Catholic Church, have also called for a total gun ban.
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