Senators lukewarm to centralized gun licensing process

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Several senators doubt the effectiveness and legality of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) decision to centralize the firearms renewal process, believing it could worsen the problem of too many loose firearms in the country.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said centralizing firearm registration could discourage gun owners from complying because they are required to personally appear at PNP headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.

“I personally believe that strictly centralizing gun registration will make it even more difficult for gun enthusiasts to comply with the registration requirement,” Poe said in a text message.

Based on PNP data, 60 percent of the 1.7 million registered firearms in the country have been found to have fictitious or questionable information.


The proliferation of fraudulent documents is the reason the PNP Director General Alan Purisima came up with a new scheme centralizing the firearm registration process at Camp Crame.

Gun owners also have to pay for the delivery of their license cards to their home, an arrangement criticized by gun owners.

Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd questioned the legal basis to modify the gun registration process, saying it might clash with existing laws on firearm ownership.

He said the new policy must be carefully reviewed, and if found to have no legal basis, Congress could question the move.

Werfast Documentary Agency, the firm hired by the PNP to deliver the gun licenses, may also be placed under scrutiny to determine its capability to handle the task and for its supposed links to the PNP chief.

Rod Moreno, vice president of Gun Owners Against Congressional Tyranny, said the P190 courier fee for Metro Manila and P290 outside Metro Manila are exorbitant.

It was also learned that Werfast was awarded a five-year contract in May 2011 but records at the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that it was only registered in August 2011.

JEFF ANTIPORDA

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