Solon raises alarm over civilian access to semi-automatic rifles

CEBU. Senator Imee Marcos answers questions in a press conference at Casino Español de Cebu in Cebu City on Saturday, March 9, 2024.
CEBU. Senator Imee Marcos answers questions in a press conference at Casino Español de Cebu in Cebu City on Saturday, March 9, 2024.Kaiser Jan Fuentes

A LAWMAKER has expressed concerns over the new gun policy allowing civilians to own semi-automatic rifles, citing potential implications on public safety and security.

Sen. Imee Marcos expressed apprehension in light of a recent shootout in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig on March 4, 2024, involving a Chinese fugitive.

“To me, (it is) a matter of great alarm because we had an incident in BGC in a building where I actually stayed, personally myself. There was a shooting incident involving an M14 (semi-automatic),” she said during a press conference held in Cebu City on Saturday, March 9, 2024.

Marcos’ remarks come following minor adjustments to the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act (RA) 10591, or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

In a SunStar Cebu report last March 5, it said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has revised the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591, which permits civilians to own semi-automatic rifles.

Col. Jean Fajardo, PNP’s Public Information Office chief, in a press conference on March 4, said the amendment allows civilians to own and possess firearms not exceeding 7.62mm.

Fajardo confirmed the amendment was sent to the UP Law Center for publication and would take effect 15 days after publication. She emphasized strict regulations for those wanting to own semi-automatic rifles.

BGC shootout

According to reports, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group was preparing to serve a warrant of arrest when the suspect, a Chinese, resisted and fired his weapon trying to flee.

The shootout, which captured national attention, has sparked debates and discussions on the adequacy of existing firearm regulations and their capacity to ensure public safety.

Marcos emphasized the urgency of reevaluating policies surrounding civilian firearm ownership.

Marcos said pushing for this policy at this time is untimely, particularly when contrasting it with the United States (US). She said that while the US has issues with gun control, it is “desperately trying to stop allowing heavy firearms.”

Additionally, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros urged for the amendment of the law, emphasizing the necessity to strengthen regulations to curb the proliferation of firearms.

“We need to amend Section 9, Article III of RA 10591 -- which allows so-called ‘gun collectors’ to amass more than fifteen firearms without much explicit restrictions - and move in the direction of tighter, not looser, gun control,” Hontiveros said in a statement. / KJF


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