Can Anyone comply with LTOP and Registration? Why the LTOP is Unconstitutional
As of 23 June 2014 the Philippine National Police has unceremoniously begun requiring all licensed gun owners to "migrate" to the "new system" under recent law RA 10591. Under this new system all existing licensed firearms owners who were previously approved are once again required to re-qualify and submit all over again all new requirements for "license to own and possess" a firearm ("LTOP"). The lengthy requirements such as neuro-psych testing, drug test, intelligence clearance, NBI and court clearance, gun safety seminar, among others, are required to be accomplished by personal appearance at Camp Crame, Quezon City. Due to the closure of PNP regional satellite offices, no license applications, processing, or approvals, may be done in the Provinces, thus requiring a 7 day trip to Metro Manila for 1.7 million licensed gun owners from all over the country. The PNP facilities at Camp Crame Quezon City are limited to a SINGLE hospital. Neuro and psych exams take at least 3 hours, for which assuming a 24 hour basis only 8 applciants could be processed per day.
Assuming an LTOP could be secured by the applicants, the next step is registration of the firearms. Again, a personal appearance must be made at Camp Crame to subject the gun to stencil and ballistic exams, which could take days. There is only ONE crude cotton-based ballistic facility in the entire Philippines in the PNP crime laboratory. No permits to transport will be provided to gun owners, hence they would either have to apply for and pay a fee to the PNP to transport the firearm, or they would have to risk bringing the firearm illegally to Camp Crame Quezon City.
The LTOP requirement, insofar as it is being applied retroactively to all existing gun owners is unconstitutional because is it EX POST FACTO. This means that RA 10591 which is a criminal law, is now punishing a prior lawful act of gun licensing, as illegal. Retroactive application of a criminal law is not allowed by the Constitution (except if it is favorable). In this case, the PNP has unilaterally declared that no renewals of any gun licenses shall no longer be allowed and henceforth all licensed gun owners shall be have to re-apply for a new license, i.e., LTOP. But the problem is that the licensed gun owners already are in possession of their firearms, and if for one reason or another, they cannot comply or qualify with this new LTOP requirement, their possession will be deemed illegal since RA 10591 is a mallum prohibitum law, meaning that mere possession without intent, is considered as illegal.
The correct application of LTOP should have been to make it apply PROSPECTIVELY to new firearms applicants, and that the existing gun owners licenses who had already previously qualified as gun owners, should be absorbed and grandfathered under the new law automatically, without having them to re-apply and re-qualify all over again. Unfortunately, that is not the way the law is being implemented by the PNP.
As such, PROGUN shall be questioning the LTOP requirement in court, among other items in the IRR of RA 10591, insofar as it is being applied EX POST FACTO by the PNP.