Mon09012014

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Legal gun holders assail new ‘stupid’ regulations

LICENSED firearms owners, as well as gun industry leaders and gun advocates on Monday assailed the new regulations on gun possession and carrying calling the rules “stupid.”

The rules were issued by the new operations chief of the National Police’s Firearms and Explosives Division.

Gun owners are raising a howl over the regulations issued by Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes on the Permit to Transport (PTT) and Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) during the recently concluded Pnoy Cup at the Armscor Firing Range in Marikina City.

One of the regulations, that lawyers in the group are contemplating on bringing to court is that “the PTCFOR cannot be used in the firing ranges due to the current interpretation [by Reyes] that firearm covered under a PTCFOR should be concealed and cased at all times and that since a firing range is a ‘public place,’ then exposing the gun is now a violation of the rules governing PTCFOR as indicated in the back of the permit.”

“This is absurd. This is not only bad for licensed firearms holders but to the gun industry as well,” an official of the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers (Afad) who attended the meeting with Reyes told the BusinessMirror in a telephone interview.

“Naghihigpit sila in a wrong way,” he added.

A licensed gun owner for his part said: “How can he [Reyes] cancel or amend the terms of PTCFORs when it was the chief of the National Police that signed it. Is that Reyes already treating [the National Police chief, Director General Nicanor] Bartolome a lameduck chief?”

Lawyer Constantino Navarro III of the A2S5 Coalition said the regulations reflect the opinion or interpretation of the laws on gun ownership of Reyes.

“It is not the opinion of a judge,” said Navarro in a separate telephone interview.

Navarro said the matter is subject to petition for declaratory relief.

“Ang final ruling niyan will come from the court. It’s a Constitutional issue that affects the basic law of the land,” said Navarro, whose group is advocating universal rights and freedoms.

Reyes, the former Pasay City police chief is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1984 and a “mistah”  of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II ,who recently announced that the next National Police chief will be Deputy Director General Alan Purisima as Bartolome was being forced by President Aquino to go on non-duty status to hasten the appointment of Purisima, his favorite cop.

Because of the strong opposition from gun groups and gun dealers, the National Police said it will re-study Reyes’s position.

Reyes’s regulations are going viral in various gun communities in the Internet.

“Medyo mali yata iyong interpretation sa Firing Range as a ‘public place’. Firing ranges require membership, or exclusive to shooters with PTCFOR-PTT only. In case there is a guest shooter, they still need to pay certain fee to use the facility and with corresponding scrutiny or review of person’s identity. So technically, a firing range is not a public place. There is a certain degree of exclusivity,” said Jose de Luna, a member of PinoyGuns.comFacebook.

People who are into gun sports also questioned Reyes’s rules on the issuance of PTT wherein he declared that if one is a gun club member only “but not a member of Philippine Practical Shooting Association (PPSA), International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) as indorsed by your gun club president then your PTT would only be good for one month and only one range will be indicated, which will be the home range of your gun club.”

If a licensed gun owner is a gun club member and also a member of PPSA-IDPA-PNSA the PTT issued to him should indicate: “All National Police accredited firing ranges” and the PTT is valid for three months.

The gun owner is also required to attend monthly one club shoot and one sanction match.

“The National Police will verify whether you are an active competitor from the match records and if you failed to comply in joining sanction matches then your next PTT will be only effective for a month and limited in number of ranges,” the rule said.

This is as if the country were under martial law again, as described by the gun groups, Reyes’s order directed FED inspectors to visit accredited firing ranges randomly and will conduct a surprise inspection on the facilities, as well as the shooters therein to check whether their FA are licensed and have the appropriate PTT.

If a person has a PTT but he used his firearm in a firing range not accredited by the National Police, the police will revoke the firearm’s license and confiscate the gun.

Several licensed gun owners said that this particular issue will affect the majority of people who secure firearms to protect themselves and their families, and who only seldom bring their firearms to the firing ranges for practice or plinking.

As for owners of rifles, the PTT is will only be granted if there is a rifle shooting competition and will be effective only for a limited period most likely a day before and after a rifle match only.

If one wants to practice, he or she will have to personally request a one day PTT from the head of the division issuing PTTs and PTCFOR. PTTs will only be released every Wednesday of the week.

 

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