Death of 7-year-old reignites gun control issue
MANILA, Philippines - The death of seven-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella reignites concerns on gun control in the Philippines.
Nicole dies Wednesday, January 2, after a stray bullet hits her on the head on New Year’s Eve.
Her family wants the government to act swiftly to prevent another senseless death.
Voltaire Tupaz reports.
Three days after seven-year old Nicole Ella dies from a stray bullet, the family brings her body home. The shooter is still unknown.
Authorities conduct a door-to-door investigation and invite four men in the neighborhood for questioning.
The PNP says there are 242 registered guns in the vicinity of Nicole's home, but they are focusing their investigation only on 45 gun owners based on the type of bullet recovered from her body.
During the New Year celebrations, stray bullets injure at least 41 and kill 2, including Nicole.
Nicole's family does not want her death to be in vain.
MERCEDITA ELLA, AUNT OF NICOLE: "Huwag pong palampasin ang may kagagawan nito kasi kung taon-taon na lang po na malaya siyang makagawa ng (pagkairesponsable), marami pa pong Nicole, marami pa pong bata na walang kamuwang-muwang sa mundo ang nanakawan ng buhay, ng pag-asa at pangarap, po." (Don't let the perpetrator go scot-free because if we condone his irresponsible act, many other Nicoles, other unsuspecting kids, will be robbed of their life, hope, and future)
PNP records show there are 1.6 million licensed firearms in the Philippines.
A third of all licensed guns belong to the military and police.
Police estimate there are nearly 600,000 loose or unregistered firearms.
Politicians are now considering a gun ban during the holidays.
RICOJUDGE (RJ) ECHIVERRI, CALOOCAN CITY COUNCILOR): "Pumapayag na rin ako na pag dating ng New Year, siguro gumawa na lang ng ordinansa, o ng memo ang DILG, o ng batas na gun ban na lang muna siguro para mapanatiling tahimik ang ating lugar. Kung di man gagawa na lang kami ng ordinansa sa Caloocan." (I agree that an ordinance or a DILG memo or a law can be passed declaring a gun ban during the New Year celebration to maintain peace in our area. Otherwise, we will pass an ordinance in Caloocan)
Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the problem is law enforcement.
JEJOMAR BINAY, PHILIPPINE VICE PRESIDENT: “Let's start with the implementation of the law.”
Malacanang says it will raise the proposals for tighter gun control with the President - a known gun enthusiast.
Gun-ban or no gun ban, one thing is clear, attitudes need to change.
VOLTAIRE TUPAZ, REPORTING: I'm here where Nicole was standing, watching the New Year fireworks. (JUMPCUT) The shooter has not been identified, but one thing is clear: the government needs to strengthen measures to prevent senseless deaths like Nicole's from happening again.
Voltaire Tupaz, Rappler, Manila.
READ FULL STORY: Can a gun ban prevent another Nicole shooting? - Rappler.com
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