ownership – or else
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
For several months now, the Philippine National Police has been reminding gun owners in the country to make sure that their weapons have been properly registered, and that those who possess some that have licenses or permits that have already expired, must secure the proper documents at once.
So far, however, the calls have been heeded by only a few and there are still thousands of guns out there that are still unlicensed, or have never been granted permits altogether.
Official sources say that, as of the latest count, there are still 7,494 guns with expired licenses in the possession of individual persons in Negros Occidental. But records of the Firearms and Explosives Office show that, since the year 1998, only 319 gun owners have complied with the law requiring them to renew their licenses. What about the rest of those who are still in possession of those weapons, how did they manage to continue possessing them without being made to answer for their failure to do so?
In the entire Western Visayas, or Region 6, the PNP has disclosed that there are 33,068 that had been issued licenses, but which are already expired and, could therefore be considered as illegally possessed. Any holder of such firearm, therefore, is guilty of the offense, that is punishable by imprisonment. Perhaps some gunowners are not aware of this yet.
Any citizen of Bacolod, Negros Occidental and Oriental, to say nothing about the Western Visayas, therefore, should heed the reminders from the PNP and attend to the renewal of their licenses, or face the consequences if discovered.
The PNP has also announced that it is now waging a house-to-house campaign aimed at ferreting out such contraband firepower. The focus on this now is ostensibly to assure a peaceful and orderly election that is due in about six months. Aside from that, however, there is also the alarming increase in incidences of crimes such as murder and homicide, as well as the use of such illegal firearms in the commission of other offenses such as hold-ups and robbery that have become rampant lately.
So, if you or any member of your family happens to possess a gun, the documents for which have not been updated through neglect, or the false belief that it will not be discovered, do something and urge your kin to “legalize” their possession. Do not risk being an example of what could happen to a lawbreaker, as may happen in case your unit is discovered. Just comply with the law, and be safe.*