Davao City firmer on sale of high powered guns

 Duterte issued Executive Order No. 12 directing the Davao City Police Office to regulate by mandating the issuance of police clearance first before any sale or purchase of rifle higher than .22 caliber, including accessories, and ammunition within the city.


"It is observed that there is a continuing and unabated increase in the indiscriminate buying and selling of rifles higher than .22 caliber …beyond the limits of law, resulting to widespread and uncontrolled proliferation thereof within the city thereby compromising local public safety and order to the prejudice of the approved peace and order plan of the city government," Duterte said in EO 12 he signed on Aug. 1. The order stated that effectivity is "upon signing."


Duterte ordered the police to issue the clearance, required in buying any gun, to ascertain strictly the identity and monitor the activity of all persons or groups who deal, acquire and dispose high powered rifles. Also, the order stated, the clearance should ensure the legality or validity of the purpose for which the rifle and accessories, shotgun, or ammunition and cartridges.


He also ordered the police to deny the issuance of the clearance to any person or group on account of "dubious identity, qualification, or purpose."


Owners of local gun stores and dealers were also asked to refuse the sale of any rifle, accessories, ammunition specified in the order to any person or group who could not present the police clearance.


Duterte also asked them to submit to the DCPO a sworn monthly sales report, including pending orders, identity of the purchaser, the quality and quantity of the items bought, the date and purpose of purchase. The mayor asked the gun dealers to submit a monthly report of inventory of stocks to the police.


Gunsmiths and shops, shooting ranges and other establishments were also asked to submit a report on repairs, modifications, installation of accessories, and reloading services of the specified high-powered guns.


Gun dealers and gunsmiths interviewed by MindaNews received a copy of the executive order Thursday. They said an earlier order already regulated the sales of ammunitions to 50 rounds. Davao City Police Superintendent Catalino Cuy called a meeting with the dealers on August 8.


The police clearance requirement is a standard in buying any gun, a local gun dealer who used to worked with the Philippine National Police's Firearms and Explosives Division told MindaNews.


"Maybe this order refers to the cases that elude police scrutiny because of connections," he said.


A security guard who asked not to be named said the order could discourage citizens from buying guns for dubious purposes. "Even those who want to buy a gun for protection might be discouraged," he said. The order did not specify pistols higher than .22 calibers.


The order, however, is not a ban on the high powered rifles, Cuy told MindaNews Thursday. "This is only to monitor and regulate the sales and distribution in the city," he said.


Duterte cited Section 16, the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code — which "authorizes every local government unit to enact measures that will enhance the public health, safety, convenience, maintain of peace and order, and promote the general prosperity of its inhabitants" — as basis for his order.