60% of licensed firearms have fictitious data—Palace
At least 60 percent of the 1.7 million registered firearms in the country have been found using fictitious or questionable data, a dangerous situation that could lead to a proliferation of loose guns.
Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said records provided by Philippine National Police (PNP) revealed that “there are names [of firearms owners] that don’t match the address, there are cases when the name and address match bu t the photograph of the supposed firearm owner does not match the name.”
Coloma said “the integrity of these records is in doubt and the reasonable thing to do is to rid these records of fraud.”
“If we won’t do anything about the fake information, we would put our country in a dangerous situation and deal with loose and unauthorized firearms. That is why the PNP wants to establish a new registry system with integrity and a strict verification process,” Coloma added.
There are about 600,000 unregistered firearms in the country.
A clamor for stricter gun licensing procedures was triggered by an upsurge of gun-related crimes.
There is a proposal to centralize the country’s firearms registration system to eliminate fraud and streamline the process, he said.
”If you can afford to spend P10,000 (to buy a gun), it would be reasonable to say you can afford your fare from the province to Metro Manila, even if you are from Mindanao. You can’t argue that the new system is inconvenient because anyone can see that those who seek firearm registration and ownership have money to spare because a gun is not cheap,” Coloma said.
He stressed the importance of keeping accurate information for firearms registration.
Coloma said Operation Katok, or the surprise inspection and inventory of guns across the country, helped ensure peaceful elections in 2013.
He said the PNP will start with imposing stricter rules for registering the guns of security guards.
He said the security agencies bear the responsibility of registering the guns of their employees.
“The PNP will enforce this new policy to ensure the integrity of the firearms registry and we hope that responsible gun owners will support this,” Coloma said.