Gun advocacy group hits ‘licensed gun owner’ tag on road rage suspect

Rappler.com
Gun advocacy group hits ‘licensed gun owner’ tag on road rage suspect
The group Gun Owners in Action says Vhon Martin Tanto is not part of the community of legitimate firearms owners because of his actions

MANILA, Philippines – After a former lawmaker decried the “Army reservist” tag on Vhon Martin Tanto, the suspect of a road rage slay incident, an advocacy group for responsible gun ownership is now protesting the description of the suspect as a “licensed gun owner.”

In a statement, the group Gun Owners in Action (Go Act) condemned the Quiapo shooting incident on July 25, but raised concern that Tanto would be associated with the community of responsible gun owners.

“While it may be true that Tanto owns several registered firearms, this does not make him part of the legitimate firearms owning community to which we belong,” the group’s vice president, Rodrigo Moreno, said.

“Any person who performs the acts Tanto has been accused of – murder with a firearm over a traffic altercation, carrying a firearm without the necessary permit to bear the same outside one’s residence, etc, automatically disqualifies himself from membership in the community of legitimate firearms owners,” he added.

Moreno noted that because of the incident, there have been “misguided and ignorant calls” to clamp down on the rights of civilians to carry guns for self-defense.

But he said that Tanto should not be considered representative of gun owners.

“This is because legitimate firearms owners such as ourselves always adhere to all laws and regulations pertaining to the ownership, carrying, and use of firearms. More important, we are at all times cognizant of our obligation to avoid any sort of untoward incident, precisely because of the greater responsibility we carry as firearms owners,” Moreno said.

Go Act, composed of professionals and businessmen, is an advocacy group for responsible gun ownership and the right of civilians to carry licensed firearms for self-defense.

Tanto is now in the custody of the Manila police after he was arrested on Friday, July 29, in Milagros, Masbate.

He is accused of shooting bicycle rider Mark Vincent Garalde, following a heated argument in Quiapo, Manila last July 25.  Rappler.com

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