SENATOR Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday recommended that the 18th Congress legislate stricter laws on the carrying of firearms, following recent shooting incidents, including the killing of a policeman in San Juan City last Tuesday.
In a statement, Mr. Lacson also said it was time for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to tighten as well the issuance of Permits to Carry Firearms Outside Residence (PTCFORs) following reports that even criminals who just change their names can get such permits.
He added that there should be “prompt changes” in the public mindset and legislation on the possession and carrying of firearms outside residence.
“Presently, when we see persons in civilian attire with firearms bulging from their pants, we just assume they are police or military personnel. It should be the other way around. If we see someone in civilian attire and with a firearm, we should instinctively assume the person is up to no good, and report him or her to the nearest police station,” said Mr. Lacson, a former PNP chief.
“Some gun owners’ groups have argued they have no choice but to bring their guns outside their houses because the police cannot protect them. This should be a challenge to the PNP, to show they can protect the public,” he added.
According to Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, PTCFORs are issued by the PNP to any person “whose life is under actual threat or his/her life is in imminent danger due to the nature of his/her profession, occupation or business.”
Several bills have been filed in the Senate seeking to amend R.A. 10591 to improve government regulations on firearms by imposing stiffer penalties on its unlawful use.
Mr. Lacson cited other areas, such as Hong Kong, where people automatically report to police those they see in civilian attire carrying firearms. He also said the Philippines should take note of New Zealand’s actions to tighten gun ownership laws following the March 15 mass shootings which killed 50 people.
“Firearms are for self-defense against intruders and should be kept at home. Once one brings it outside your house, chances are the owner’s mindset can change and he or she can use it for offense,” the senator said. — Camille A. Aguinaldo