Police go House-to-House against Philippine Gun Owners

Since January 2013, the Philippine national Police have been implementing OPLAN KATOK ("Operation Knock on your door") by going house-to-house and knocking on the doors of licensed gun owners "reminding" them to renew expired gun licenses.

Intimidation is the hallmark of a police state. We feel that the same effect could have been accomplished by merely sending notices by mail or printing announcements in the newspapers regarding the need tor renew gun licensed that have expired. Rather, going house-to-house is a form of intimidation to cower and harass licensed gun owners to renew their gun licenses - or else. A poll among Philippine gun owners by PROGUN last month shows that the vast majority of licensed gun owners who have been visited by the police feel deeply concerned that Oplan Katok is a practice run leading to eventual gun confiscation. We have long been warned by our brother gun owners of the United States that gun registration is the basis for confiscation. It happened in the Philippines in 1972 when martial law was declared. Today in 2013, in spite of the presidency of the son of the former nemesis of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, history, in the form of the 1972 gun confiscation, may repeat itself.

Aside from being a waste of resources of the Philippine police, going door-to-door takes away from the badly needed presence of the police on the streets and crime ridden areas where their visibility and protection is needed the most. Sending out thousands of police officers to knock on the doors of honest law abiding licensed gun owners is a misallocation of a badly needed police assistance for the public which is currently suffering from a severe crime wave.

Violation of privacy and constitutional right to protection of abode, are likewise issues involved in the implementation of Oplan Katok. It should be noted that Oplan Katok is done at the initiative of the State and irregardless of the consent of the citizens. No agent of the State - law enforcement, military, or otherwise - has the right to enter into a private citizen's house without a search warrant issued by a court. Privacy and embarrassment are also major issues in that neighbors see police visiting citizens' houses and thus speculate what crime the neighbor has committed.

The constitution and our bill of rights is just a piece of scrap paper unless we the citizens make it stick. The Bill of rights is not about what the State grants to us by way of gratuity, but rather what we the people limit the state in its powers.