License the Individual not the Firearm

Why do we license guns? 

A gun is an INANIMATE OBJECT. It has no brain, no feelings or emotions, or motor skills. Licensing a gun is like licensing a car, instead of the driver. It cannot take a driver's exam, a drug test, or get NBI or court clearances. 

Clearly, it is the PERSON or the USER who should be licensed, not the object. It is the PERSON who takes the exam and submits qualifications. It is the PERSON who will be examined if he is qualified to possess and use the gun. and Most importantly, it is the PERSON who must be held liable or accountable for the use of the firearm. 

We propose to License the individual not the firearm. In the same manner as driver's licenses are obtained, the user shall take a one time firearms test and practical exam. If he passes, he gets his firearms license. Thereafter if he desires to make a purchase of a firearm, he presents his license. Then the GUN is REGISTERED by the dealer, and the owner brings home the gun. 

This is similar to the procedure for driving a car. Once the driver gets his license, he may drive any car he wants, and buy as many as he wants. The cars he drives, however, must be registered. Both license and registration are renewable every two-three years. 

This will avoid the problem of having to submit license requirements each and every time you buy a gun. It will also cramp down on red tape and corruption.


License the individual and not the firearm

The best argument in support of this hypothesis is the way our government license our drivers and our professionals. The government does not license each and every car bought, although it is registered for purposes of identification but it is not licensed. The same is true with the practice of professionals, lawyers are not given the privilege of practicing law for every client they engaged in, once they passed the bar and signed the rolls, they can practice law. Doctors too, are being licensed as soon as they have passed the board exams and qualified in their respective areas of specialization. Engineers are not given license for every bridge, building and road that they build but in our case, as gunowners, we are license for every firearm that we have. So for us who have more than one firearm, we have the same number of licenses as our firearms which give us one conclusion that we are being used to be a source of funds for the government or to be exact for the Philippine National Police. Come to think of it, except for the number of years that lawyers or doctors have to study before they get their diplomas, it would be very much easier to be a doctor or a lawyers than to be a firearms owner. The number of documentary requirements or clearances required to be submitted, the gun safety seminar and its practical examinations. Subsequently the marksmanship test and not to be forgotten, the psycho-neuro examinations. As firearms owner, we are the only kind that needs to prove before authorities that we are sane for purposes of owning firearm.  But not in cases of other professionals, as long as they passed their respective licensure examinations and pay for their fees they can already practice their profession. This is why we should lobby for a license which will allow us to own not only one firearm. While we can retain the old system but there should be a license which will cater to multiple firearms owner in order to make it more convenient to them and spare them from the hassle of having their firearm licenses renewed every two years. To illustrate, if a person pays around two thousand pesos for each license for every two years, he will be paying twenty thousand pesos per renewal if he has ten firearms. Licensing the owner himself for the same amount will not make the earnings of the PNP any smaller but it will surely benefit the gunowner because all he has to do is to proceed to the FED office pay his renewal fee and he is done. Through this process, the PNP can expect that firearms owners will promptly renew their licenses every two years. In fact, it would be better if the life of the license will be increased to five years with the appropriate adjust on the amount of the fees.The purpose of regulation of firearms is for the government to account for the firearms that reaches the hands of peaceful, responsible gunowners and not to punish the latter with kilometric red tape requirements and unnecessary examinations. Taxpayers should not be made to suffer, infact, we should even be given incentive when we renew our license promptly similar to what is given to realty taxpayers.The bottomline is that there is a symbiotic relationship between the government and firearms owners which should be treated equally at all times for it to grow for their common benefit.



The logic behind licensing

The logic behind licensing the individual and not the firearm(s) is that the firearm(s) cannot take competency exams, drug tests, or physical examinations, that an individual person can take. As a result, licensed gun owners possess as many licenses as they have guns. As JJFAT correctly said, while this procedure may result in an increase in the potential revenues of the police as a regulating agency, it discourages the individual license holder from renewing his licenses upon expiration. The long list of requirements, red tape, and bureacratic corruption in the licensing process, likewise contribute to the problem. Thus, a majority of licensed gun owners have not renewed their firearms licenses.

Licensing the individual is the same system as is used in the U.S. for concealed carry weapon (CCW) holders. Once an individual takes an exam and is qualified for CCW he/she can carry any gun he/she wishes, without any further licensing process. In contrast, here in the Philippines, the individual licensed firearms holder must apply for a PTCFOR for each and every gun he wishes to carry, which is not only redundant, but absurd.

Strong opposition from PNP against licensing the individual

If firearms licensing and PTCFORs are a great revenue source for the PNP, would they not fight tooth and nail against any shift from licensing the firearm to individual? What incentive would they have to support this?

Loss of revenue?

That's correct, the PNP stand to lose revenues for licensing of the individual. However, a corrective or remedial measure would simple be to increase the fee for licensing of the individual. I don't think people would mind paying a higher fee as long as they don't have to keep getting the same requirements, and pay the same fees everytime they buy a gun. Also, bear in mind that the vast majority of licensed individuals own only one gun. Hence, the perceived loss would be only with respect to those individuals who own several guns, which is the minority.


In any case, it's about time that the government wake up to reality and make their rules on firearms more in conformity with reasonableness and logic. Once rules become UNREASONABLE, it makes it less attractive for people to comply with the rule and remain law abiding. Also, unreasonable rules make way for corruption to creep in. In such case, the people will simply refuse to register their firearms, which will turn into a crime problem with the proliferation of loose firearms.