PROGUN GROUP, SOLONS QUESTION GUN BAN

Manila, Feb. 1, 2003 - The Peaceful, Responsible, Owners of Guns (PROGUN) group announced yesterday that it will question the directive in court and vowed to conduct mass actions.

In a text message, PROGUN members encouraged gun owners to go to the streets and place eggplant in their holsters.

But Philippine National Police chief Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. said that such mass action will only be futile.

Ebdane said that for those who want to avail of the amnesty declared by President Arroyo, gun owners should inform the PNP before bringing their firearms in.

He said the gun owners cannot avail of amnesty the moment they are apprehended for illegally possessing firearms.

Congressmen yesterday criticized Malacaņang's decision, saying it has just created a "nation of sitting ducks."

Rep. Juan Miguel Zubiri (Bukidnon) said the order was a virtual invitation for criminals "to do brisk business" and for abusive men in uniform "to harass people."

"Bandits and criminals do not apply for gun permits. The guns in the possession of these people are the ones that must be suppressed," he said.

Rep. Augusto Syjuco (Iloilo) said the President's order "leaves law-abiding citizens defenseless."

He said carrying firearms is the law-abiding citizens' only defense in the face of the failure of the police to assure their protection.

He said people purchase guns for protection because the "state can't keep us safe and can't contain criminals."

Rep. Jack Enrile (Cagayan) called on the President to reconsider her directive.

"Stripping the law-abiding citizen of the wherewithal to defend himself when confronted with imminent danger is not the way to do it," he said.

He cited statistics presented by the interior department that of the 12,233 firearms involved in the commission of crimes in the past 10 years, 85 percent were loose or unlicensed. (Malaya)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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