By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is pushing for an extension of the validity of gun licenses from two years to five years.
Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 1023, which seeks to amend the Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, and extend the validity of firearms and ammunition licenses to three more years.
It also proposes to extend the firearm registration from four to five years.
In his bill, the senator said that prolonging the validity of gun licenses will streamline renewal processes for the license and registration of firearms.
This, in effect, will reduce the number of loose firearms in the country since gun owners will be encouraged to register.
“In addition, this would be beneficial to those who already have a license and registration as they would not have to reregister and renew their registration and license, respectively, as
frequently,” Zubiri also explained.
A firearms and ammunition license is a document authorizing a civilian to own and possess or carry firearms outside of the residence.
It is issued by the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), which also handles firearms registration.
Firearms should be duly registered and recorded at the Firearms Information Management System (FIMS) of the FEO.
Zubiri, citing PNP-FEO data, said that there were around 200,000 private individuals who hold firearm and ammunition licenses as of 2018.
Furthermore, there are about 600,000 firearms registered in the FEO.
Approximately there are one million loose or unregistered firearms nationwide, the FEO estimated.
“In order to achieve efficiency in license renewals and registration, contacts with government must be drastically lessened,” Zubiri said.
“I believe providing for a standard period of validity of firearms registration and license is a sure-fire measure. Varying periods of validity of such license, permit and registration had contributed to red tape, and discouraged gun owners to register and secure licenses,” he added.