Gun owners tell SC: PNP fees ‘exorbitant’
Gun owners tell SC: PNP fees ‘exorbitant’
Gun owners want the Supreme Court to stop to the PNP FEO’s collection of fees for gun ownership licenses

MANILA, Philippines – A group of gun owners wants the Supreme Court to stop the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s collection of fees over gun and ammunition license permits, arguing that it’s “exorbitant and tantamount to taxation.”

Organization Go Act and Richard Infantado, in a 41-page petition, claim that the schedule of fees for licenses to own guns and ammunition “are far in excess of [purposes of regulation and licensing and] thus have to relevance to the cost of licensing and regulating the owner of firearms.”

They want the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the PNP’s collection of such fees.

The High Court is also being asked to issue a status quo order telling the PNP to continue processing and issuing Licenses to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF), Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) and Sports Shooter Licenses (SSL) and other permits even as their petition is being resolved.

Go Act, in the petition, said queries made before the Office of the President went unnoticed. “No less than the President of the Republic has refused to answer Petitioner Go Act, thereby impliedly approving the schedule of fees imposed and implemented by respondents,” they said.

The petitioners argue that the fees – ranging from P1,000 for a license to own up to 2 firearms and up to P5,000 for a license to own more than 15 firearms – are “not just aimed at defraying the cost of processing and issuing of the LTOPF, PTCFOR and other licenses and permits of individual gun owners but is rather a form of taxation.”

Gun owners also complained that on top of the fees for licenses, they also spend to get certifications for a psychiatric test, drug test gun safety seminar, clearance from the PNP Directorate for Intelligence and police clearance.

The changes in securing a license to own firearms came when Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act was signed into law. Now, gun owners must first secure an LTOPF to own a firearm.

The firearms and ammunition themselves are registered separately.

“That the rates contained in the Schedule of Fees is exorbitant and tantamount to taxation is further underscored by the fact that the PNP would be able to raise P650 million from LTOPFs alone.”

“To place the aforementioned amount in perspective, the entire budget of the PNP in 2013 amounted to P67 billion. In other words, respondents seek to raise around one percent of the entire annual budget of the PNP from a source which has no legal basis whatsoever,” the petitioners lamented.

In their petition, they argued that the PNP’s “taxation” goes beyond its mandate, citing previous jurisprudence.

Named as respondents in the petition are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, PNP Civil Security Group head Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria, and PNP Firearms and Explosives Office chief Chief Superintendent Elmo Francis Sarona.

Sought for comment, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor told Rappler that the “PNP will submit its answer to the petition once required by the court.” –

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