Guns and the right to life-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
FINALLY, the Diocese of Bacolod City has come out with a call to the government to strictly implement the Commission on Elections gun ban that will begin Sunday with the start of the election period to prevent firearm-related incidents.
Of course, it’s not a total gun ban that the Church is advocating. Fr. Ernie Larida, Social Action Center head, qualified the call that gun owners who use their lethal weapons for sports should keep them in a safe place after their use.
I can agree with that. I would like to take Fr. Larida’s call a step further. Just as the Church has linked its opposition to the RH law as defense of the unborn’s right to life, so too must it take the cudgels of the right to life of the born against those who wield these weapons for mayhem.
It is precisely these guns that murder fugitive Noel Ayalin used (.45 caliber pistol) to shoot to death barangay chair Rámon Celebre, barangay councilors Pedrito Orocio, Luzviminda Cotamen, Freddie Juno, and youth council chair Aimee Occena.
The gun that Ayalin used for his murder spree? A loose firearm, right? Only criminals would refuse to register their guns. At least, that’s the usual argument of gun lovers.
Well, they won’t get a cigar but they could qualify for a sin-taxed cigarette. Ayalin had a personal firearm, a .45 caliber Armscor pistol, licensed on March 18, 2008. The license, however, expired on January 16, 2010.
That would square with Police Regional Office-6 records that listed over 33,000 loose firearms with a fraction of 2,247 gun holders renewing their licenses and 3,807 who have signified their intention to renew their permits. If the PNP knows that much of loose guns are out there, you’d wonder what measures they’ve undertaken to enforce existing laws.
Maybe, we don’t even need tough new gun control laws, we need tough enforcement against loose firearms. Yet PNoy argued that strict gun laws disallowing the legal acquisition of guns will only be beneficial to “outlaws” who already possess guns in the first place. Is that an argument for loosening the restrictions on legal gun acquisition?
He even elaborated that “a lot of us will agree with the basic premise na ‘yung outlaw will be one of the first or first groups that will say, ‘thank you na madidisarmahan ‘yung law-abiding citizen dahil mas madali na silang mabiktima.’”
Is he serious? Does he want civilians to be Wild Bill Hickoks, Bat Mastersons, and Annie Oakleys when we go downtown to protect us from Billy the Kids and Tom McLaurys? Does he want our towns and cities to become the Wild, Wild West?
PNoy blamed the private armies, which contribute to high crime rates in the country. But were the killers of Stephanie Nicole Ella of Caloocan City and Ranjilo Nemer members of private armies in the metropolis? If so, what has his administration done to dismantle these groups?
Did members of private armies kill road rage victims such as the Andrés family in 1998 when Inocencio González shot at the Andrés’s vehicle, and hit his pregnant wife, Feliber, their two-year old son, and their nephew? Was Inocencio a member of a private army? Or Rolito Go and Jason Ivler for that matter? Is Aquino attacking a strawman so he and his Kabarilans keep their deadly toys?
On the world stage, the Vatican has been pushing for decades for limitations not just on conventional weapons of warfare, such as tanks and missiles, but also for stricter limitations on the illegal and legal sale, trade and use of small firearms and weapons, said Tommaso Di Ruzza, the expert on disarmament and arms control at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Well, that our Church and other faith communities push for the honest-to-goodness enforcement of gun control laws to protect the rights to life of the born.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 11, 2013.