Gun ban still on

Bernard M. Banac

Firearm holders in public face arrest – PNP.

THE nationwide gun ban remains in effect with the police under orders to accost anybody who will be found in possession of firearms and other deadly weapons without any exemption from the Commission on Elections until the end of the election period on June 12, PNP spokesman Colonel Bernard M. Banac said yesterday.

“Nanawagan po tayo sa ating publiko, ang ating paalala muli, na ang gun ban ay patuloy pa ring paiiralin ng ating kapulisan hanggang sa a-dose ng Hunyo. Hanggang maaari, huwag po tayo magdala ng firearms outside of our residence, at kung ito po ay expired, ay mas maganda po na ipa-temporary safekeeping natin or custody sa ating pinakamalapit na himpilan ng pulisya,” the PNP spokesperson said.

Since the ban on the unauthorized carrying of gun and other weapons started last January 13, police have already seized 5,191 firearms and nearly 50,000 other deadly weapons and live ammunition across the country, Banac said.

During the election period, all Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence issued to licensed gunholders are automatically suspended with only members of the police and the armed services authorized to bear their issued weapons in public while in the official performance of duty and in their prescribed uniform.

Officials said that even carrying of gun replicas is prohibited during the election period. Last Wednesday and Thursday, three persons including a purported media practitioner were arrested by the Mimaropa police for violation of the gun ban and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, Police Regional Office 4-B director, Brigadier General Tomas C. Apolinario Jr. announced yesterday.

In Siquijor, a man who toyed with a gun replica at a beach resort in Maria municipality was jailed by the local police amid a complaint from alarmed local tourists, PRO7 director Brig. Gen. Debold M. Sinas said.

Under Comelec rules and regulations, violation of the gun ban is an offense which carries the penalty of a maximum of six years in prison and a minimum jail term of less than one year.  The gun ban is an election offense which also imposes the penalty of dismissal from the service for any law enforcer or public official who will be caught violating the rule.