GUN BAN SPARKS DEBATE

Manila, Jan. 31, 2003 - Anti-crime crusaders welcomed the total gun ban announced by President Arroyo yesterday, but expressed worries that law-abiding citizens would be left at the mercy of those who refuse to comply.

"This is a double-edged move," said Dante Jimenez, a leader of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption watchdog group.

"This will help minimize crime but what about people like us? We have permits to carry guns because we have many enemies and we have received death threats. We would be sitting ducks," he said.

A gun owner who asked not to be identified said: "How about victims of criminality who survived? How do they protect themselves?"

It will be recalled that Jackie Rowena Tiu, a Filipino-Chinese from La Union who was kidnapped last year, bought a 9 mm pistol from the PNP-FED immediately after she was "rescued."

The Gunless Society thanked Arroyo for the ban but said government should not give any exemption.

The group also called on government to ban the use of tinted windows in motor vehicles.

It said Arroyo could also direct the PNP not to allow gun shows or gun stores in public places. It said the shows and stores should be held inside military or police camps.

The President can also direct the interior department to dismantle all billboards that portray actors with guns or other instruments of violence, it said. (Malaya)


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