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President Benigno S. Aquino III signed on May 29 Republic Act 10591 “An Act Providing for Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof,” the Palace announced on Saturday.
Among the salient features of the new law are the standards and prerequisites for the issuance or obtaining a license to own and possess a firearm, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
The standard requires an applicant for a gun license to be a Filipino citizen; at least 21 years old; has gained full work occupation or business or has filed an income tax return for the preceding year as proof of income, profession, business or occupation.
The applicant has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, has passed the psychiatric test administered by a Philippine National Police (PNP) accredited psychologist or psychiatrist.
The applicant must also pass the drug test conducted by an accredited and authorized drug testing laboratory or clinic.
Those applying for a gun license must also pass the gun safety seminar administered by the PNP or a registered or authorized gun club. The applicant has to file in writing the application to possess a registered firearm indicating the personal circumstances why he or she needs to own a firearm.
Applicants must get a police clearance to prove that they weren’t convicted or accused in a pending criminal case punishable with a penalty of more than two years. They must also pay the reasonable gun licensing fees.
The law also has a provision for carrying firearms outside of residence or place of business and gun owners must have a permit to carry (PTC) firearms. 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 and these include the members of the Philippine Bar, certified public accountants (CPA), 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 the Republic Act 10591 also specifies the firearms that may be registered, Valte said. Only small firearms may be registered by licensed citizens or licensed juridical entities for ownership, possession and concealed carrying.
A light weapon shall be lawfully acquired or possessed exclusively by the AFP, the PNP and other law enforcement agencies authorized by the President in the performance of their duties. All firearms must be registered at the PNP.
Firearms for use in sports and competitions also require licensing.
Firearms and ammunitions manufacturers must also apply for licenses, Valte explained. Both locally manufactured and imported firearms must also be registered as mandated by the new law.
Gun stores are also required to have a license to deal based on the new law for the purchase and sale of guns, as well as general business in handling firearms and ammunitions. Gunsmiths must also apply for a license for them to repair registered firearms.
The new law also requires gun owners to renew their licenses every two years on or before the date of expiration. If they fail to renew their licenses, the PNP will revoke them and this also entails confiscation of the fire arm.
The new law will take effect 15 days from its publication in a newspaper of nationwide circulation.