WITH or without the gunban, the Philippine National Police leadership yesterday warned that holders of loose firearms specifically when they are chamber-loaded or fitted with a silencer will find themselves facing long jail term under Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013.
RA 10591, in particular illegal gun possession, is a heavy offense specifically if the firearm is found loaded with ammunition or inserted with a loaded magazine, the PNP leadership headed by Director Ricardo C. Marquez explained.
This exactly will be the predicament of three men believed to be members of a gun trafficking syndicate operating in Western Visayas who were arrested by agents of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group during a sting in Bacolod City last April 20.
According to PNP-CIDG chief, Director Victor P. Deona, the suspects identified as Kim Gavasan, Franklin Olimpu Jr. and Bal de la Peña yielded nine assorted firearms with magazines and accessories including silencers during the undercover operation inside the South Ceres Terminal along Luzuriaga Street in Bacolod City conducted by members of the Bacolod City CIDG and the local police.
Also recovered from the suspects were four mobile phones and the marked money paid to them by a poseur. According to local CIDG chief, Senior Superintendent Francisco Esguerra, the suspects are believed to be members of a gunrunning ring operating in Negros Occidental and its nearby municipalities and cities.
The syndicate is said to be headed by one Corporal Kim Gavasan, an Army soldier said to be stationed in Danao City, Cebu.
The suspects are now faing charges for violation of RA 10591 and are being held in a local police detention facility.
PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Wilben M. Mayor explained that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591 states that the ‘penalty of one degree higher than that provided in the new law shall be imposed upon any person who shall illegally possess any firearm under any or combination of the following conditions:
Loaded with ammunition or inserted with a loaded magazine;
Fitted or mounted with laser or any gadget used to guide the shooter to hit the target such as thermal weapon sight and the like;
Fitted or mounted with sniper scopes, firearm muffler or firearm silencer;
Accompanied with an extra barrel and;
Converted to be capable of firing full automatic bursts.
Thermal weapon sight refers to a battery-operated, uncooled thermal imaging device which amplifies available thermal signatures so that the viewed scene becomes clear to the operator which is used to locate and engage targets during daylight and from low light to total darkness and operates in adverse conditions such as light rain, light snow and dry smoke or in conjunction with other optical and red dot sights. RA 10591 also imposes the penalty of prision mayor or 6 months and 1 day to 12 years on any person who shall unlawfully acquire or possess a major part of a small arm.
Major parts or components of a small firearm refer to the barrel, slide, frame, receiver, cylinder or the bolt assembly. The term also includes any part or kit designed and intended for use in converting a semi-automatic burst to a full automatic firearm.
A small arm on the other hand means a firearm intended to be primarily designed for individual use or that which is generally considered to mean a weapon intended to be fired from the hand or shoulder, which are not capable of fully automatic burst of discharge such as handgun, a pistol, a rifle either classified as lever, bolt or self-loading and a shotgun.
RA 10591 also imposes the penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua to any person found in possession of three or more small arms or Class A light weapons. Reclusion temporal means 12 years and 1 day to 20 years while Reclusion perpetua means 20 years and 1 day to 40 years;
The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully acquire or possess a Class A light weapon while the penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully acquire or possess a class B light weapon.
RA 10591 describes Class-A Light weapons as self-loading pistols, rifles, carbines, submachine guns, assault rifles and light machine guns not exceeding caliber 7.62mm which have full automatic mode.
Class-B Light weapons refer to weapons designed for use by two or more persons serving as a crew or rifles and machine guns exceeding caliber 7.62mm such as heavy machine guns, handheld under barrel and mounted grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tank missile and rocket systems, portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems and mortars of a caliber of less than 100mm.