PROGUN Opposes personal appearance at Camp Crame for licensing and renewals
Last 3 March 2014 all PNP Civil Security group Satellite Offices in the various Regions of the Philippines were ordered closed and its personnel ordered to report to The firearms and Explosives Office at Camp Crame Quezon City, for duty. According to the PNP Memorandum, licensing and renwals of licenses shall now be centralized in Camp Crame Quezon City, and all lincesed gun owners will have to make the trip to personally appear to apply for and/or renew their gun licenses.
PROGUN strongly opposes such policy of personal appearance at Quezon City for all licensing and renawals of licenses. The Philippines is an archipelagic country composed of several thousands of islands over which one million five hundred thousand licensed gun owners reside and are scattered. Centralization of all licensing and renewals of gun licenses would require all of these licened gun owners to travel all the way to Camp Crame Quezon City to have their licenses renewed. This is clearly a substantial burden upon licensed gun owners who may not afford the cost of travel and who may not have the time to spare away from their jobs and businesses to make the long trip wither by plane or ship. In all other licensing such as drivers licenses and business permits, the application, processing, and approval is done by local regional offices.
Moreover, as experience has shown, whenever lincesing or permits is centralized in one office or person, which has sole discretion whether to grant applciations or not, there is potential for abuse and corruption.
The reason given by the PNP that a "substantial number" of the gun licenses are allegedly "dubious" or with false addresses, is an internal problem caused by the PNP personnel themselves who issued such licenses previously. If indeed there were problems with the identity and/or addresses of the licensed gun owners, still it was the PNP which had the lapse since it had the opportunity to properly screen the applicants for gun licenses and yet it failed to so so properly. In any case, the identity and addresses of gun owners could easily be verified by the PNP regional offices, which are closer and within the area of the gun owners.
While the PNP is stil currently in the process of trying to reinvent the wheel, and revamp the entire licensing process, hundreds of gun owners are in limbo and unable to renew their licenses. As complained, it is not that the gun owners do not want to renew their licenses, it is because the gun owners are not being allowed to renew their licenses. Under the law, an expired gun licensed reverts the gun to an unlicensed firearm which carries a criminal penalty for possesion thereof, which further complicates the problem.
The Philipine gun community is now galvanized and has denounced such policy as "draconian" and "marcosian" after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. In any case, PROGUN is objecting to and fighting for the rectification of such erroneous policy.