The Philippine National Police (PNP) has written a 48-page comment urging the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the implementation of the PNP’s revamped system for the licensing of firearms.
The PNP filed the comment through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), to question the validity of the issuance of the TRO, since no laws have been violated with regard to the system by which gun registration has been centralized in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
The TRO has been in effect for more than 6 months to date, and covers areas including: the centralization of the gun regulatory processes; requirements, testing and licensing for the regulation of firearms; the delivery of firearms by courier; and using the excuse of “firearms inspection” to conduct warrantless searches of homes.
The new licensing system as stipulated by Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013 has come under fire from groups such as the Peaceful Respondent Owners of Guns Inc. (PRO Gun) and Gun Owners in Action (GO Act). Both groups have filed petitions against RA 10591, while the PNP has asked the SC to dismiss these petitions.
The gun groups allege that the PNP has acted beyond the limits of its power in centralizing the gun permit system. The OSG argues, however, that the PNP has not.
“The order was not whimsical and arbitrary, but based on a valid exercise of delegated power by the PNP to prevent irregularities in the licensing processes. The alleged inconvenience on the part of the applicants in going to Camp Crame to process their application or renewal of gun permits cannot be equated to irreparable injury that warrants the continued imposition of the TRO,” the OSG said.
“The PNP requirement for applicants to individual-type license to consent to voluntary presentation of firearms for inspection is not unconstitutional. The inspection contemplated under RA 10591 is not within the scope of search contemplated under the Constitution, as it is limited to the examination of only the firearms subject of the applications or type of licenses,” it emphasized.
The OSG argues that the petition filed by the gun groups with regard to validity of the PNP’s outsourcing of firearms license delivery by courier service no longer applies. It noted that the PNP itself has now taken over the task of delivering firearms license cards to the respective gun owners
The PNP has reiterated that the new gun control law is needed to curb the proliferation of loose firearms in the country and speed up the resolution of crimes.