Press Release
December 9, 2019

Senate passes bill seeking to extend validity of firearms licenses

With 20 senators voting in favor, zero against and no abstention, the Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a measure seeking to extend the validity of the license to possess firearms and ammunition from two years to five years.

Senate Bill No. 1155, under Committee Report No. 19, seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10591 or the "Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act" extending the renewal of firearm registration from four years to five years.

The measure was filed in substitution of Senate Bill No. 275 introduced by Senate President Pro-tempore Ralph Recto and Senate Bill No. 1023 filed by Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The report was prepared by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa. It was approved on second reading without amendments on November 27, 2019.

Under the measure, the registration of a firearm shall be renewed every five years from the birthdate of the licensee.

"Failure to renew the registration of the firearm on or before the date of its expiration shall cause the revocation of the license. The said firearm shall be confiscated or forfeited in favor of the government after due process," according to the bill.

The measure further extends the validity of permit to carry firearms outside of residence from one year to two years "from the date of the approval of the application, unless sooner revoked or suspended."

Dela Rosa, in his sponsorship speech, noted that a lack of practical renewal policies hinders gun owners from renewing their firearms because "license renewal means complying with voluminous documentary requirements and conditions."

"In a country like ours, gun ownership is a privilege that is hidden behind numerous documentary requirements and countless conditions that must be met; then and only then can one avail of such privilege," he said.

From the data provided by the Firearms and Explosives Office of the Philippine National Police, Dela Rosa noted that before the enactment of Republic Act No. 10591 in 2013, the number of registered firearms was 1,650,353 which eventually increased to 1,869,684 after the enactment of the said law.

The same data also showed that as of August 31, 2019, 45 per cent or 837,758 of the 1,869,684 previously registered firearms were not renewed, and 7,073 were accounted as loose firearms.

"This is exactly why we say that a mere increase in the number of registered firearms upon the implementation of RA 10591 is not considered an achievement, especially when a sizeable number of the owners choose not to renew their licenses despite the possible risk of imprisonment," the former PNP chief said.

"To set the validity period of our firearms registration from four to five years is a practicable and obvious solution. It would serve us well if renewing our license to possess firearms comes at the same time that we renew the licenses of the firearms themselves. In effect, we are not just extending the validity of our firearms licenses; we are, more fundamentally, extending our capacity to be responsible, our capacity to defend ourselves and those whom we love," Dela Rosa said.

"We are for the promotion of safety measures. We are for the protection of our people. But surely, and that is what this bill ensures, it would be better if it would not take a mountain of work for us to do so," he added.

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