Editorial: Lax implementation of gun ban-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
THE shooting incident inside the Palace of Justice last Tuesday has naturally drawn attention to the fact that it happened at a time when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has put in place a gun ban as the campaign period for the May polls opened.
People who consider the diktat an absurdity immediately pounced on the incident to prove their point.
Some prosecutors, for example, are seeking an exemption to the gun ban as an offshoot to the incident involving Canadian national John H. Pope, who shot to death Dr. Reynolds Rafols and his lawyer Jubian Achas and wounded Assistant Cebu City Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño.
It’s an interesting argument for gun owners--the one about guns being used for defensive purposes and their being a deterrent to criminality.
Indeed, one can use this argument to insist that, in the Palace of Justice shooting, the outcome would have been different had the victims also had guns and either made Pope think twice about attacking them or gave them a chance to defend themselves when Pope did.
Of course, it is also possible that carrying guns wouldn’t have mattered anyway, especially if Pope surprised his target. Or gun possession would have sparked more violence had a shootout occurred.
The problem was not that the prosecutors, or other well-meaning citizens, were deprived of the ability to defend themselves because of the gun ban. Rather, it was that the gun ban was not fully implemented, with Pope being able to bring guns from his residence to the Palace of Justice and then successfully smuggling these inside the building.
And where did Pope procure those guns?
The Cebu Palace of Justice incident was not even a unique occurrence. Killings using firearms are still being reported in other parts of the country, which could prove the laxity in the implementation of the gun ban. Outside of mere talk by Comelec and Philippine National Police (PNP) officials about the start of the ban, nothing much can be seen out there in the field on the matter of implementation.
Where are, for example, the mobile check- points that usually become visible when an aggressive campaign against illegal gun possession is launched? Indeed, the failure of the Palace of Justice guards to detect the guns Pope carried can be traced to the general laxity in the implementation of the gun ban.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2013.