• Next of kin should surrender gun to police upon owner’s death

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My husband died in February 2016. He was a licensed gun owner. Before his death, he contracted a loan from his friend Edgar, and the latter is now demanding from me the payment for the said loan. I am intending to sell the gun owned by my husband, so that I can use its proceeds to pay his outstanding financial obligation. I already offered the gun to our neighbor Samuel, and the latter agreed to purchase it. May I know if there is any law violated if the sale will push through?        
    Charina

    Dear Charina,
    Upon the death of your husband, who is a licensed gun owner, there is a corresponding obligation or duty of the next of kin, like you, stated under Section 26, Article IV of Republic Act 10591 or otherwise known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, which states:

    “Upon the death or legal disability of the holder of a firearm license, it shall be the duty of his/her next of kin, nearest relative, legal representative, or other person who shall knowingly come into possession of such firearm or ammunition, to deliver the same to the FEO of the PNP or Police Regional Office, and such firearm or ammunition shall be retained by the police custodian pending the issuance of a license and its registration in accordance, with this Act. The failure to deliver the firearm or ammunition within six (6) months after the death or legal disability of the licensee shall render the possessor liable for illegal possession of the firearm.”

    Clearly, it is your duty to deliver the said firearm to the Firearms and Explosive Office or the Police Regional Office within six (6) months from the death of your husband, otherwise, you will be liable for illegal possession of firearm. The firearm and its ammunition shall be in custody of the police until a corresponding license and registration shall be issued in your favor. Thus, if you want to continue possessing the said gun, you need to apply for a corresponding license and registration.

    Under Section 22, Article IV of the same law, it is specifically stated that: “Firearms and ammunition may only be acquired or purchased from authorized dealers, importers or local manufacturers and may be transferred or sold only from a licensed citizen or licensed juridical entity to another licensed citizen or licensed juridical entity: xxxx xxxx xxxx”.

    If the intended sale of the gun to Samuel will push through, it will be in contravention of the abovementioned provision of law, because you do not have any license or registration for the gun. In short, it is a requirement that the seller of the firearm and the buyer of the same must be duly licensed in order for the transaction to be considered legal.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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