The debate is on. To arm or not to arm is the question most professionals are asking in view of the assasination of personalities in the countryside. Gun ban is only effective in the urban areas like Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao City but definitely not in Maguindanao, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, Cotabato City and others more. The Philippine Judges Association is calling the Supreme Court to allow them to carry their own firearms, the Department of Justice has requested the Commission on Elections to exempt the prosecutors from the gun ban which will last until November 10, 2010. How many judges, prosecutors and lawyers will die until the end of the gun ban? Even doctors in Mindanao are arming themselves because of the unabetted criminality in the area. Perhaps even the nurses will likewise make a call to allow themselves to carry arms in the light of the rape of a volunteer nurse in Cotabato City. No one is safe or at least no one feels safe without a handgun in their possession.
But the power to impose gun bans is not absolute. Republic Act No. 7166 allows an exemption from the gun ban which was implemented until then General Jesus Versoza became PNP Chief. It was only during the May 2010 National Elections that exemptions were totally eliminated allegedly upon the prodding of the former PNP Chief. The COMELEC should re think its position and implement the law properly by allowing exemptions to qualified public officials like judges, prosecutors (both public and private), defense counsel and civilians. It should not let its cloak to be stained by the blood of the victims of crimes that could have been prevented if they were armed and was able to defend themselves. The Peaceful Owners of Guns is supporting the call of the Philippine Judges Association and the Department of Justice to arm the judges and prosecutors. The same is true with private prosecutors and defense counsel, the barrio doctors and medical workers should likewise be armed. Engineers and other workers supervising the construction of roads in the provinces must also be allowed to bear arms for self defense. We are not promoting a culture of violence by espousing the right to bear arms but the realization of a basic right, the right to live.