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Gun replicas, airsoft covered by gun ban — PNP

Oscar D. Albayalde

THE Philippine National Police leadership yesterday reminded the public that airguns, airsoft guns and firearm replicas are covered by the nationwide ban on the carrying of guns and other deadly weapons and thus, persons carrying any of such banned items will be arrested and charged in court for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

Since the start of the nationwide gun ban last January 13,  PNP agents have apprehended nearly 1,000 violators, majority of them civilians found carrying firearms and other deadly weapons even as PNP Chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, assured that the human rights of all persons passing through checkpoints will be protected at all times.

Citing a report from the PNP Directorate for Operations, PNP spokesman, Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac, said that so far, police have also seized over 1,000 firearms and other deadly weapons including gun replicas, grenades, explosives, bladed weapons and assorted live ammunition.

National Capital Region Police Office Chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, said that the number of gun ban violators in Metro Manila have also breached the 100 mark with almost the same number of firearms and other deadly weapons seized by his men since last January 13.

“We have effectively prevented the possibility that these illegal weapons could be used as a tool to commit violence on the streets of the metropolis,” said Eleazar.

The gun replica-related arrests prompted Banac to warn the public not to carry firearm replicas and airsoft rifles and pistols on the streets since it is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code that will automatically send them to jail.

He said that Section 2 (b) of Comelec Resolution 9561 provides that “firearm,” as defined in existing laws, rules and regulations, shall include airguns, airsoft guns, and replicas/imitations of firearms in whatever form that can cause an ordinary person to believe that they are real.

The PNP said any person including those possessing a permit to carry firearms outside of residence or place of business have been prohibited starting last January 13 to bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons in public places including any building, street, park, private vehicle, or public conveyance.

Firearm includes airgun while deadly weapons include hand grenades or other explosives.

Firearms or arms also include rifles, muskets, carbines, shotguns, revolvers, pistols, and all other deadly weapons from which a bullet, ball, shot shell, or other missile may be discharged by means of gunpowder or other explosives. The term also includes air rifles except such as being of small caliber and limited range and use as toys. The barrel of any firearm shall be considered a complete firearm, he said.

On the other hand, Airsoft guns are replica toy guns which shoot low velocity plastic balls by means of spring air. They are considered low-powered and of limited range. Banac said the PNP is also mandated to confiscate all toy and replica firearms which are replicas of true firearms being sold on the streets amid complaints that they are sometimes being used by criminals specifically holdup artists. Police in the past have arrested crime offenders including robbers who were found to be in possession of gun replicas.

In other instances, some individuals have also been accosted and jailed for using gun replicas to threaten or intimidate other persons on the streets. Police are particularly under orders to confiscate gun replicas being sold on the streets specifically during Christmas and New Year revelries amid complaints they pose a danger to others.