House of Representatives

House panel OKs bill seeking to extend validity of firearm licenses

Jairo Bolledo

PASSED. The House bill seeking to extend the validity of firearm license hurdled the committee level on November 16, 2021.

The bill seeks to extend the firearm license to five years

The House committee on public order and safety on Tuesday, November 16, has approved the unnumbered substitute bill, which seeks to extend the validity period of firearm licenses.

The bill was a substitute to at least seven related bills, which have the same objective. The measure particularly seeks to amend section 7 of the Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. 

Under the proposed measure, the validity of licenses provided in section 7 shall be “renewed every five years reckoned from the birthdate of the applicant, unless sooner revoked or suspended.”

The proposed measure also seeks to amend the validity of licenses and registration of firearms. Under the bill, all types of firearm licenses and registration shall be renewed every five years. 

As early as December 2019, the Senate version of the bill was already passed. However, in the Senate version, the validity of permit shall be two years only. 

In addition, the Senate version also included that a person whose life is under threat can ask for a permit to carry firearms. A person in imminent danger due to the nature of his/ her profession, occupation, or business can also apply. 

Based on the bill’s Senate version, the following are considered to be in imminent danger: 

  • Members of the Philippine Bar
  • Certified Public Accountants
  • Accredited Media Practitioners
  • Cashiers, Bank Tellers
  • Priests, Ministers, Rabbi, Imams
  • Physicians and Nurses
  • Engineers
  • Businessmen “exposed to high risk of being targets of criminal elements”
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The discussion on firearms has circulated again back in June when President Rodrigo Duterte said he was “open” to arming civilian groups. The Philippine National Police (PNP) defended Duterte’s idea and said it was purely for protection. 

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former PNP chief, criticized the idea and said stricter gun control is much needed to stop criminality. – 

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.