Pro-gun group asks SC to stop gun ban
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A group of gun enthusiasts yesterday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the gun ban being imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in relation to the May 9 general elections.

In a 44-page petition, members of Go Act led by Eric Acosta asked the high court to issue a status quo ante order enjoining the implementation of Comelec’s Resolution No. 10015 that prohibits private gun owners with valid permits to bring licensed firearms outside their homes.

They also asked the high court to nullify the Comelec resolution.

Reacting to the petition, the Comelec maintained yesterday that the gun ban is provided by law.

“From the point of view of Comelec, we need the gun ban not only because it is mandated by law but because it helps us ensure an orderly election in general,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

Named respondents in the petition were Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez.  

The Comelec resolution said that during the entire election period, which started on Jan. 10 and would end on June 8, the public would be barred from bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or deadly weapons outside of their residence or place of business, and in all public places.

All permits to carry firearms are also suspended or put on hold, unless covered by a Certificate of Authority from the Comelec.

Exempted from the gun ban are the police and armed forces, other law enforcement officials, and select government officials.

But petitioners argued that the gun ban violates the rights of licensed gun owners in the country under Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act of 2013) through issuance of permits to carry firearms outside of residence (PTCFOR).

“Petitioners are challenging the election gun ban imposed by the Comelec under Resolution Number 10015, because under RA 10591, PTCFOR holders are recognized as having threats against their lives and safety. Hence, RA 10591 gives PTCFOR holders a clear legal right to carry their firearms, and not have their PTCFORs revoked or suspended except for the specific instances enumerated in RA 10591 which does not include the election gun ban,” read the petition.

“Because of this, it is clear that RA 10591 has amended or repealed the Omnibus Election Code and other laws relating to the bearing of firearms during elections. Hence, Comelec is required by law to exempt private citizens who are PTCFOR holders from the gun ban, in order to respect their right to carry their firearms outside their residence,” it stressed.

Go Act said the implementation of the gun ban poses not only threat of criminality but also threat of unjustifiable arrest and criminal prosecution of their over 1,000 members nationwide. – With Sheila Crisostomo

ACIRC BAN CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY COMELEC COMELEC CHAIRMAN ANDRES BAUTISTA AND PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE COMPREHENSIVE FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION ACT DIRECTOR GENERAL RICARDO MARQUEZ ERIC ACOSTA FIREARMS GO ACT GUN
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