Rama: Last shots on the ‘gun’ ban

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

LAWYER Leo Cañares, sipping his morning mug of java and reading his favorite paper, greeted me with a jubilant “it’s almost over” as I walked into our favorite uptown coffee shop last Saturday.

No, he didn’t mean his coffee break was about to end or that he was turning to the last news page. The gun ban (actually, it’s a weapons ban) will end on Wednesday and we have cause to celebrate.

A day before that, Lowell Belarmino of the local Philippine Practical Shooting Association (PPSA) chapter had asked that I block several days of my calendar because a welcome-back-to-shooting match is being scheduled aside from the one which Front Sight Gun Club in Minglanilla is set to host on Nov. 14.


And, just recently, Jerome Lim of the local International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) community sent a call out to safety officers willing to officiate a five-day pistol match being planned from the 23rd until the 27th in Lapu-Lapu City.

Then there is the Defense and Sporting Arms Show at the SM Megamall in Manila between the 12th and the 16th. And with the gun show traditionally comes a drop in gun and shooting related accessories in all gun stores nationwide.

For Atty. Cañares and everybody else active in the local and national shooting scene, there is indeed a cause to celebrate.

FIGURES. The “gun” ban, which took effect on Sept. 25 and is the second imposed this year, has resulted in the arrest of 791 people nationwide, say the latest news reports.

These reports all seem to quote a press release by the PNP “high command” in Camp Crame which strikes me as one-sided and insensitivite to the country’s pro-gun community, as it plays to the paranoia peddled by the anti-gun lobby.

The release seems to gloss over the fact that only 646 of the incidents actually involved firearms because the other 191 cases involved the carrying of bladed weapons.

The remaining 34 incidents involved the possession of explosives, which to me is more serious. Still, in the manner of presentation, it played a mere second fiddle to the “gun” aspect of the announced police accomplishment.

The release was also painfully lacking in details. It did not state how many of the 646 seized guns were licensed. It merely indicated that of those arrested, 24 were government employees, 15 are policemen and nine are military people.

I think it is safe to assume, and we do not actually know the circumstances why these 48 individuals were caught in possession of firearms during a government-mandated weapons ban, that only these incidents involved legally-acquired and validly-documented guns.

More figures. During the imposition of the first weapons ban, which began a month before the May 2010 elections and ended on the 9th of June, the government announced that it was able to make 2,722 “gun” ban arrests.

Actually, a full fifth of the number did not involve guns but bladed weapons. But the respondents were all labeled “gun ban” violators anyway.

Again, the information, released via a Camp Crame press briefing, did not categorize the seized firearms according to whether they were documented or not and whether the people these were taken from were licensed gun owners or not.

I am willing to speculate that a majority of the guns seized were paltik,
undocumented, just like the guns taken during the more recent weapons ban.

I am also willing to speculate that almost all of the persons arrested were not licensed firearm holders.

They were either criminals taking advantage of the fact that law-abiding citizens could not protect themselves at that time because they were disallowed from carrying their own legally-acquired firearms or were goons working for politicians.
Making the distinction is important. (To be continued)


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 08, 2010.


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