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Groups question gun law

The Supreme Court has been asked to nullify certain provisions in the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013 for alleged violation of constitutional rights.

In separate petitions, Gun Owners in Action (GO Act) and Peaceful Respondent Owners of Guns Inc. (PRO Gun) said obtaining firearm licenses have become more difficult.

GO Act board members and licensed gun owners Eric Acosta and Nathaniel Dela Paz assailed at least five sections of the law enacted in May last year that also imposes stiffer penalties for violators.

They cited, for instance, section 4 (g) of the law, which disqualifies an individual with a pending criminal case from securing a license to own and possess a firearm and to actually own and possess a firearm, which, they said, violates the constitutional presumption of innocence.

The petitioners stressed that a person merely accused of an offense or crime is different from another one already convicted in court.

They also assailed sections 10 and 26, which prohibit ownership of a light weapon from being passed through succession; section 7.3 of the implementing rules and regulations, which omits engineers as among the individuals exempted from the requirement of a threat assessment; and section 7.12 of the IRR, which prohibits the carrying of a firearm inside places of worship and all other commercial or public establishments.

The petitioners also questioned the provision that allows police to conduct warrantless searches of homes in the guise of firearms inspection. They said this violates the right of the people against unreasonable and illegal searches and seizures under Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution.

Because of these concerns, they asked the high court in the 157-page petition to issue a writ of prohibition against the implementation of assailed provisions in the law.

The petition named as respondents Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, and top officials of the Philippine National Police led by Director Gen. Alan Purisima.

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