SC asked to cite police chief for contempt

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Responsible gun ownership advocates have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to cite Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Alan Purisima for contempt for allegedly violating an earlier order of the high court to stop the implementation of the PNP’s centralized gun licensing policy.

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The Peaceful Responsible Owners of Guns (PROGUN) also urged Purisima to take a leave of absence for continuing to require licensed gun owners all around the country to go personally to Camp Crame, PNP’s headquarters in Quezon City, to renew their licenses pursuant to the cited policy.

PROGUN, in its Petition for Contempt filed before the SC, accused Purisima and officers of the PNP Firearms And Explosives Office (FEO) of violating the SC-issued temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the centralized gun licensing requirement of the PNP.

PROGUN members, led by lawyer Ernesto Tabujara, signed the said petition.

The TRO, which also ordered the PNP to re-open their satellite offices in the regions to accept and process firearms license renewals, was also reportedly not complied with.

Tabujara also lamented that the PNP continued to process registration applications containing a “Consent and Waiver” clause which allowed the police to enter the homes of licensed gun owners to inspect their firearms, contrary to the SC’s TRO.

Section 7, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides that indirect contempt may be punished by imprisonment or fine, or both at the discretion of the court.

PROGUN also filed a motion before the high court seeking to suspend the expiration of all firearms licenses until the PNP complies with the TRO to allow gun owners to renew their licenses.

The group underlined that the motion was filed to protect gun owners whose licenses were expiring, but are prevented from renewing such licenses because of the subject gun licensing policy.

Currently, FEO license holders now have to re-apply for a License to Own and Possess and re-submit a lengthy list of requirements first before their licenses could be renewed.

In addition, gun owners are now required to bring their firearms to Camp Crame regardless of where the owner lives to have their firearms subjected to ballistic tests and recorded in a database.

However, no permit to transport the firearms has been issued by the PNP for such purpose.

The TRO was issued in connection with a petition seeking to annul certain provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act” of 2013.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed RA 10591 into law on May 25, 2013.

The petitioners in the cited case impleaded as respondents Malacañang, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, and the Department of Interior and Local Government, through Secretary Mar Roxas, and some ranking PNP officials.The provisions of RA 10591 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that are sought to be declared as unconstitutional are the following: Sec. 4 (g) which disqualifies persons with pending criminal cases from securing gun licenses; Sec. 10 and 26 which prohibits ownership of a light weapon passed through succession; Sec. 7.3 of the IRR which omits engineers from the list of those exempted from the requirement of threat assessment; and Sec. 7.12 of the same IRR which prohibits the carrying of a firearm inside places of worship and all other commercial or public establishments.

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