THE Philippine National Police (PNP) reiterated on Friday that airsoft guns or gun replicas have been included in nationwide election gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Airsoft gun owners and enthusiasts urged the Supreme Court last Wednesday to exempt airsoft guns from the ban due to lack of implementing law covering the manufacture, trade, and possession of airsoft guns.

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“We ask the airsoft gun owners to refrain from carrying their guns so as not to violate Commission on Elections Resolution 8714, which included airsoft guns and gun replicas in the list of items covered by the gun ban," said PNP spokesman Leonardo Espina.

The poll body issued Resolution 8714 last December 16, 2009 in line with Section 32, paragraph 1 of Republic Act 7166, or the Synchronized Election Law of 1991, which prohibits any person from carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons in public places, including any building, street, park, private vehicle or public conveyance, even if licensed, to possess or carry the same unless allowed by the Comelec.

Section 2 (b) of the resolution classifies airgun, airsoft guns and their replica as firearm.

In a 14-page petition, Easternbloc Airsoft Philippines founder Reynante Orceo said the poll body effectively criminalized the sport when it included airsoft gun in the resolution which set the gun ban period.

Easternbloc Airsoft Philippines is an alliance of airsofters composed of professionals, businessmen, students and government workers based in the eastern Rizal province.

Airsoft is a game that makes use of gun replicas. Espina however advised them to just leave their guns in places where they practice or play their hobby.

Earlier, the PNP nabbed Tristan Castro and Jonas Eslao that day for carrying a .45 caliber airsoft pistol and a gun replica at the checkpoint in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Gun ban violators now past 300

As this developed, the campaign on gun ban has netted more than 350 violators, most of them government employees and law enforcement units, the PNP said.

On Thursday, police arrested 41 persons nationwide – two were policemen, another two were soldiers, 36 civilians, and a government employee for violating the gun ban rule.

This brought to 357 the total number of violators, of which 28 were policemen, 24 were soldiers, 292 were civilians, and 13 were government employees.

As to the weapons seized, the police recorded 314 firearms, 32 bladed weapons and five grenades.

All those arrested will be facing criminal charges, Espina said.

The gun ban period is effective January 10 to June 9. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)