• Decentralized gun licensing hailed

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    FIREARM dealers on Sunday hailed a move of newly-installed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez to decentralize the gun licensing system to allow gun owners to renew their license in the different regional police offices.

    During his speech at the turnover ceremony held at Camp Crame in Quezon City (Metro Manila) on July 16, the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers of the Philippines Inc. (AFAD) took note of Marquez’s concern on the “difficult state” of licensed gun owners brought about by complexities in the renewal of license.

    “The challenges brought about by implementing a new firearms law are another concern requiring serious consideration. They have obviously caused untold sufferings on the part of licensed gun holders. While the provisions of the law are indeed harsh, we can bring licensing and registration activities closer to their doorsteps,” Marquez said in his speech.

    “I therefore order the Directorate for Operations and FEO-CSG [PNP Firearms and Explosives Office-Civil Security Group] to develop a comprehensive plan to decentralize these activities to the regional centers and major urban areas as provided for by law. Also, I am earnestly requesting the National Police Commission for the immediate approval of our recommendation to set up regional offices in preparation for decentralization,” he added.

    Gun enthusiasts all over the country have complained against the previous set-up that required licensed gun owners to renew their firearm license only at the FEO headquarters at Camp Crame to the disadvantage of gun owners from remote areas.

    Last month, former PNP officer-in-charge and now retired General Leonardo Espina also approved streamlining of the license renewal.

    The AFAD called on the country’s gun owners to apply for their License to Own and Possess Firearms in view of the easing of the requirements, and their firearm registration as well.

    “As in the past including when [Marquez] was the chief of the Licensing Branch of the Firearms and Explosives Office, the association works with and will continue to work with the PNP in the implementation of the firearms law that is feasible and effective for the industry,” it said.

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