By Alden M. Monzon, Reporter

Companies expect to sell more guns after police opens offices outside Manila to issue licenses

Posted on June 12, 2015

PHILIPPINE gun companies expect to sell more firearms after the police opened offices outside Metro Manila to issue licenses, a practice previously disallowed under new rules.

The local firearm industry is seen to slightly recover this year with the increasing number of applications for a License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF), which is issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP), Joselyn G. Jose, president of the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines, Inc. (AFAD) said.

“I am hoping that our sales last year gets doubled this year,” Ms. Jose said in a n interview on Thursday at the sidelines of the 23rd AFD Defense and Sporting Arms Show in SM Mega Mall.

“For this year, we have nowhere else to go but up. I can see that there were many who got their licenses, the license to own and possess firearms, because that is our ready marketer, those people who get those are the ones that can be issued firearms,” Ms. Jose added.

According to the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office, more than 50,000 LTOPF has already been processed since last year.

In 2014, the PNP faced mounting concerns expressed by gun groups and firearms associations owing to Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

Under its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), all PNP firearms application and renewal operations were centralized at the police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. As a result, gun owners outside Metro Manila were required to visit Camp Crame to apply for licenses.

Sales “will improve, but it probably will not be by a really big leap. It will probably be 10% to 20% from last year because there’s already two satellite offices [which processes firearms licensing] in Davao and Cebu,” Rhone M. De Leon, Operations Manager of the Shooters Guns and Ammo Corporation.

This year, the PNP has opened three satellite offices -- in Cebu, in Davao, and in Marikina -- which are capable of processing firearms licensing and registration compared to last year when all applications were processed solely in Camp Crame.

For his part, former AFAD president Jethro T. Dionisio, who is also the president of his own firearms company, Jethro International Inc., believes that 2015 is a better year for the gun industry after the police eased gun ownership requirements.

“Requirements are easier to comply with now and there are less requirements compared to before. Hopefully, this will mean more application for the LTOPF and more sales,” he said in a separate interview.

Bob S. Sajot, the Executive Vice President and the General Manager of ArmScor Shooting Ranges, for his part said: “In a new system, there will always be changes, resistance, there will always be difficulties. But it’s been some time and the changes have been improved, the regulations have been somewhat streamlined so we anticipate it to be better.”

Two factors are driving the surge -- the gun industry’s public information campaign and the capacity-building by the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office, Ms. Jose said.

“Our [information] campaign is continuing. The first time [that the new gun rule] was announced, it came out in the social media, and you know how things in the social media spread. So that, we corrected it, hence, this gun show. We are promoting that getting a gun is not hard, that it’s not impossible to get,” she said.

“Secondly, the PNP has made preparations. Before, they have lesser capacity to process but now they have more so there are also more people who have LTOPF,” she added.