Gun law in the Philippines
Most laws regarding civilian ownership of firearms in the Philippines concern registration and background checks. There is also focus on disarming various militant groups, such as the Islamic separatist groups in Mindanao and the communist rebel groups such as the New People's Army. The Philippines has also enacted laws as a result of many incidents of armed political violence during elections
During his presidency Ferdinand Marcos implemented gun confiscations against citizens. These were part of his martial law regime, what he referred to as "The New Society" or the Bagong Lipunan, as well as to quell the Moro separatist groups in Mindanao. Since then, gun control has become a moderate and strong issue in the Philippines.
The ownership of firearms in the Philippines is regulated by the Firearms and Explosives Division of the Philippine National Police. In order to possess a firearm in the Philippines, a person must be at a minimum age of 21 years and pass a background check to be issued a Possession License. They must also take a firearms training and safety course. Any history of mental illnesses and/or domestic violence within the individual or the family will cause an applicant to have his request rejected.
According to a 2014 study, there are 1,700,000 licensed firearms owners and 3,900,000 privately owned guns (legally and illegally) in the country.
History of firearm laws in the Philippines
Gun control was a small issue in the Philippines. However, this became an issue during the various armed insurgencies that plagued the country in the 1960s and 1970s by Islamic militants in Mindanao and communist groups throughout the country.
Strict gun control was enacted in 1972 under the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. Under Proclamation No. 1081, citizens were banned from carrying a firearm outside of their residences. Though, despite the government claims that this was a temporary gun control law, citizens often fell victim to door-to-door searches for firearms. Confiscated firearms were not returned.
During the 2010 election season, on January 10, a ban was implemented which completely prohibited citizens from carrying firearms into the public, with no exceptions. Off-duty police officers carrying their guns in the public were arrested for failure to comply with the law. This gun ban was a measure to prevent political killings, as the Philippines often deals with armed conflict during elections such as the Maguindanao Massacre. This move saw opposition from the gun lobby, especially from members of PROGUN.
On May 29, 2014 Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10591. This required gunsmiths to contain licenses to repair registered firearms. The law also required gun owners to renew their licenses every two years, and registration of their guns every four years. Failure to comply will result in revocation as well as confiscation of guns.
This new law also required people who wish to carry their firearms outside of their residence to apply for a Permit to Carry, under good reason. These permits are often given to high-profile people.
Current gun ownership law
Republic Act 10591
Qualifications to carry guns were set forward by Republic Act 10591 (RA 10591) or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, an act providing for a comprehensive law on firearms and ammunition and providing penalties for violations thereof. RA 10591 stipulates that people seeking to carry a gun may apply for a Permit to Carry (PTC). PTCs are granted on a May-Issue basis at the discretion of the issuing authority.
A qualified person may apply for a PTC if he or she is under actual threat or is in imminent danger due to the nature of his or her profession, occupation, or business. The law specifies professionals who are considered to be in imminent danger due to the nature of their profession, occupation or business. These include lawyers or members of the Philippine Bar, certified public accountants, accredited media practitioners, cashiers, bank tellers, priests, ministers, rabbis and imams, physicians, nurses, and engineers. Businessmen who, by nature of their business or undertaking, are exposed to the high risk of being targets of criminal elements are also allowed to apply for PTC.
Section 10 of RA 10591 also specifies the firearms that may be registered. Only small firearms may be registered by licensed citizens or licensed juridical entities for ownership, possession, and concealed carrying.
The act also provides for the procurement of arms for use by law enforcement and military personnel. It states that a light weapon shall be lawfully acquired or possessed exclusively by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies authorized by the president in the performance of their duties.
Licensing and registration
RA 10591 lays out the licensing and registration requirements for firearms.
First and foremost, all firearms must be registered with the PNP. Firearms for use in sports and competitions also require licensing. Firearm and ammunition manufacturers must also apply for licenses. Gun stores are also required to have a license based on the new law for the purchase and sale of guns, as well as general business in handling firearms and ammunition. Gunsmiths must also apply for a license before they may repair registered firearms.
Current laws require gun owners to renew their licenses every two years on or before the date of expiration. If they fail to renew their licenses, it will be automatically revoked, resulting in the lawful confiscation of the firearm by the PNP.
The registration of the firearm must also be renewed every four years. Failure to renew the registration of the firearm on or before the date of expiration shall cause the revocation of the license of the firearm. The firearm shall be confiscated or forfeited in favor of the government.
Failure to renew a license or registration within the periods mandated by the new law on two occasions shall cause the holder of the firearm to be perpetually disqualified from applying for any firearm license.
The application for the renewal of the license or registration may be submitted to the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) of the PNP within six months before the date of the expiration of such license or registration.
- Brown, Sophie (15 January 2014). "Accountants and priests can carry guns under new laws in the Philippines". CNN.
- Philip Alpers. "Guns in the Philippines — Firearms, gun law and gun control". gunpolicy.org.
- McIndoe, Alastair (13 January 2010). "Philippines Bans Guns During Election Campaign". Time.
- Felipe, Cecille Suerte (July 27, 2013). "New gun control law to take effect in September". The Philippine Star. ABS-CBN.
- "Republic Act No. 10591". Official Gazette (Philippines). 29 May 2013.