Gun ban?-A A +A
Saturday, January 12, 2013
IN an ideal world, civilians would not need to carry guns. In an ideal world, only military, security and law enforcement officers would be carrying guns. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.
I don’t like guns. And I would prefer for every civilian to go gun-less. But batting for a total gun ban is like battling for universal disarmament. That’s not likely to happen. At least, not in my lifetime.
While I was living in the People’s Republic of China, a brawl took place at a bakery in a mall. My friend and I were witness to this ridiculous altercation between a male and a female customer fighting for the last pieces of bread before closing time.
I panicked when I heard the raised voices. Coming from the Philippines where people take out guns over traffic disputes and parking spots, I shuddered at the thought of a possible bloodbath. The man was obviously enraged and ready to kill for the last few pieces of bread. But then I settled down. I realized that this man could not possibly have a firearm in his possession so he could not possibly start shooting.
Yes. At that very moment, I was extremely relieved that this altercation was taking place in the People’s Republic of China where loose firearms are non-existent.
An individual who takes out his gun to threaten another should be heavily penalized. He doesn’t have to fire his gun. The fact that he takes it out and threatens another person’s life is criminal enough. These are not the actions of individuals who should rightfully own and carry guns.
Filipinos should understand that the right to bear arms is not expressly provided in our Constitution. The Constitution grants the state the right to protect its citizens from lawless elements and it is in this light that the state is construed to have the right to bear arms. But this right is a collective rather than an individual right of the people.
If our laws allow individuals to own and carry guns then such permissibility is a privilege rather than an inherent right.
Pro-gun advocates will argue that since the state cannot adequately protect its citizens from criminal elements, individuals are justified in bearing arms for self-defense. I agree. However, I think citizens should understand that this privilege to bear arms is subject to regulation and may be restricted and rescinded at any time by the state.
More stringent regulations should be established for gun licensing both for possession and carriage. Gun-owners should be limited as to the number and type of firearms they can own and carry. There is no need to maintain an arsenal of assault weapons if bearing arms is truly only for defensive and not offensive purposes.
As for those who indiscriminately fire guns for revelry or any other purposes, their gun licenses should be revoked for life. In addition, military and security personnel who commit this offense should be relieved from their duties and banned for life from serving in military, security and law enforcement.
I am not pro-gun. But I am pro-choice. I don’t support a gun ban. However, I fully support gun control, regulation and zero tolerance in enforcement.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 13, 2013.