The Philippines under a total gun ban

Recently, the PNP, under its chief General Jesus Verzosa, proposed a permanent total gun ban. Chief Verzosa seems to conveniently ignore the fact that, to date, there have been no cases anywhere in the world where a ban has effectively prevented criminals from obtaining weapons.

To see how the Philippines might look if it continues on this course, we need only look to Jamaica. The former Spanish possession changed hands with the British to become a colony for around 300 years. Jamaica attained full independence in the 1960s, after which it experienced strong economic growth. Its prosperity didn’t last long, however, as in the 1970s it suffered from growing inequality and fell into economic deterioration.

In 1974, the government enacted a total ban on private firearms ownership. House-to-house searches, secret trials as well as warrantless searches and seizures followed. After an initial dip in the armed crime rate, it went on to become known as a ‘murder capital of the world’. (The graph below shows Jamaica’s increase in murder rate between 1970-2000.)

Jamaica murder rate 1970-2000

Jamaica’s murder rate, 1970-2000 (source)

Jamaica is now one of the most violent societies on earth. It suffers from a corrupt Jamaica Constabulary Force who are accused of extra-judicial executions. Gang violence is widespread and according to Mark Shields, the former deputy commissioner of police, criminals have access to an enormous number of illegal firearms.

As in the Philippines, Jamaica also has a culture of political violence. Politicians buy votes and exchange weapons and ammunition for gang loyalty. To protect themselves, politicians and the wealthy hire armed bodyguards or use their influence to obtain guns. As usual, the poor and the powerless are left vulnerable.

With such similar societies, can we reasonably expect to avoid Jamaica’s fate? A permanent total gun ban will be a disaster for law and order in the Philippines.

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19 responses to “The Philippines under a total gun ban

  1. Jamaica is not the only place with this kind of phenomenon. Cities which have likewise imposed total gun bans such as Washington D.C., Detroit, Chicago, New York City, Belfast Northern Ireland, have likewise been proven to be failures in their policies. As well-known statistics would show, the foregoing cities are amongst the most crime ridden places in the world, in spite of their total gun bans. The only people who benefit from such gun bans are the criminals themsleves. The losers on the other hand are the ordinary law abiding citizens who are compelled to submit themselves to such gun bans and are thus left defenseless against the acts of armed criminals who do not respect the ban.

    Gun bans are the product of the narrow-minded and insensitive minds of policiymakers who are simply out of touch with reality. The view from Utopia is quite different from the reality on the streets.

    1. I am kind of frustrated in analyzing why they really push this total ban of FA. Where in fact there are lots of information around the world with graph and other evidences showing that banning FA is not the solution of reducing crimes. It can encourage criminals to do harm since they already know that they are in the upper hand.

      I do not want to think that people who push this ban of FA have other agenda in their mind. But I think of nothing except, maybe they are backing up some group of criminals that when this total gunban will pushed through they will be in a very good business that even after their retirement they can enjoy a very luxurious life. (IMO)

      1. Perhaps Versoza, Oreta of PHIL-IANSA, Pacheco of the Gunless Society LOVES criminals.   That is the possible reason for pushing a total gun ban, to give criminals and advantage over the soon-to-be-helpless law-abiding citizens.   Those of us who would insist on keeping and bearing arms shall automatically become criminals.  So there will be more criminals.  Simple equation, isn’t it?

    2. The losers are the ordinary law abiding citizens.

      I remember what my uncles told me that during martial law a big box was placed in front of the public market.Loose FA were to be placed there no question ask and/or no apprehension.

      But no matter what the propaganda of the government at that time on gun ban still the lawless elements ,insurgents etc.prevailed.Loose FA still very much available and used to commit crimes.

      IMHO gunless society can be if there are no more poverty,over population,insurgency,corruption which i think are just of some of the real causes.

      just my 2 cents sir.

      1. Yes, the real causes of crime are very difficult for our officials to address. It is much easier to chase the most obvious target, like firearms, than to fix the underlying problems of inequality, a poor economy and social disfunction. 

        Whenever the public clamor for ‘something to be done’ about any of our social ills, lazy officials will select a scapegoat. Usually they know in their hearts that it will not solve the problem but they want to be seen as proactive by their constituents. That way, the officials can say to the public, ‘we are doing something to tackle this problem! We are doing our best to keep you secure!’

        This is called CYA security because most are unwilling to tell the public that there is no easy solution to keeping people safe from crime. It takes a rare and brave politician to stand in front of the public and tell them, ‘we do not know how to solve this problem.’ Do you think he or she would stand a good chance of getting re-elected after admitting this?

        This is why the standard position of any official is CYA: ‘cover your ass’.

    3. The gun ban is also the reason why an entire industry flourishes. I’m sure the criminals benefit from it but this about all the home security companies. Every time there has need a gun ban these companies spring up from everywhere, providing an alternative for your loss. Of course you could go the other way and try out some DIY security ideas available on blogs like but I’m sure a very small percentage of people actually do that. It’s all about money. It’s dead obvious that the government is not doing this to help the people.

  2. A permanent total gunban, definitely, will not prevent criminal elements from obtaining weapons. Ironically, this may even cause the increase of crime in the country – and this instead will “reward” criminals superiority over us, the ordinary citizens, as it will leave us defenseless against gunwielding criminals. 

    Giving us privilege to own guns legally will even allow us to do our part in preventing criminals from doing their evil deeds.

    What the PNP must do instead is to educate those who are going to acquire guns for home defense and self-defense on the responsibilities of the person-holding-the-gun, and proper discipline in gun handling.  


  3. Question: if the Summit has aggreed! to extend indefinitely the GUNBAN can the current President sign that into law?…remember she is still President until June 30 12:00 noon.

    IMHO this is what should we look into and block all moves or delay until the New President sits in.

    1. There is no more time for GMA to sign a “Gun Ban Law”. Congress and the Senate are canvassing the returns for the election of President and Vice president, and there are no more sessions to consider or approve any new bills. Even if in the extreme case that GMA does sign an Executive Order for a gun ban, it will only last till 30 June 2010 or when the next President steps in. Aquino will certainly overturn it.

      1. glad the solons are busy in the  canvassing of votes! and it’s a blessing that the incoming president is a gun enthusiast too.

  4. some questions for the gun ban advocates, with due respect to the law enforcement agencies:

    1. could the law enforcers always predict when an armed violence will occur, or when an unarmed  prey falls into the hands of an armed criminal?

    2. will the police always be there to protect us before we be victims of criminal elements?

    3. should we helplessly watch our homes ransacked, our families hurt if not killed, when armed perpetrators attack us?

    well, these are but only a few of the citizens’ questions onl security none can answer with a direct YES. hence, the idea of a permanent gun ban in the country should be brushed aside. allow us to enjoy our rights protect our  properties, homes, families and ourselves. allow us to arm ourselves, legally own and carry guns. if the criminals could arm themselves, so MUST we.  

    1. The law of physics states that nobody can be at two different places at the same time. The same holds true for police: they cannot be everywhere at the same time. They are not omnipresent. Hence, if the police are in the camp, precinct, or on patrol, or responding to another incident, they cannot be at the scene of a crime. They can only arrive after the crime has been committed to investigate and/or take notes and pictures of the deceased victim.

  5. This entry was quoted in The Philippine Star: A total gun ban is unacceptable.

    The author, Babe Romualdez, also makes many valid points opposing the total gun ban.

    “Until such time as the police are able to muster enough men to sufficiently protect the people, law abiding citizens would rather be caught with unlicensed firearms than be caught helpless in protecting themselves and their family against criminals.”

    1. I watched a Documentary show on one of our Local Station and it is stated that Venezuela is the Murder Capital of the World….Thanks to Hugo Chavez and his Socialists policy …. State is now owning Privately-owned business that once catapulted this country for being a Rich country like a Communist country…


      I guess Jamaica is no longer alone being a major Crime capital ……

      1. I heard that murder in Caracas in through the roof! Brazil and Russia also are very high on the list… But really, though people do use guns to kill, guns themselves, do not kill people. If one is determined enough to kill someone, they’ll do it… via poison or knife, whatever it takes. I used to think being armed was the best line of defense, but the truth of the matter is, no matter what you do you’ll never be completely safe. A home security system might protect your home, but once you step out of your house, you’re vulnerable once again. Same thing with a gun. You have you have it loaded and ready to go, otherwise you might as well just through the gun and hope for a heaven-sent KO. Just follow the basic safety tips you’re taught in school… stay out of dark places late at night, don’t venture into unsafe neighborhoods and travel around in groups. You’ll reduce the chance that you’ll be a victim by ten fold!

  6. If a total gun ban were to be implemented, everything legal about guns will go underground.

    Instead of a million loose firearms, it will be two million within 12 months (exagerated but you know what I mean)

    Gun Conrtol is also a form of control by Governments. Governments with agenda’s that fear a backlash from armed civilians if their laws and policies are not agreed upon. (meaning they will be less likely to force unfavorable policies onto the public if they fear the public, they become a more negotiable government, more transparent)

    I would agree that gun laws needs to be reviewed, but with the emphasis of stream lining the process and making it easier to register FA, by doing this, the illegal gun market will struggle. It will not be as lucrative as before/now (although the illegal market will always be frequented by criminals) as honest law abiding citizens will be more attracted to legally registering their fire arms.

    I understand some plights of the anti-gun lobbiests, but most of the issues they bring foward can be addressed with public safety awareness campaigns (gun safety).  Education and training is the key point to gun safety.

    Like others have said, guns do not kill, people do. Guns make it easier to kill but no easier than intentional ramming a speeding vehicle into a crowded area. Infact you can pack cars with all sorts of nasties with intent for mass destruction – now should there be a vehicle ban during elections – or motorcycle ban (oftern used for hit & runs against a target)?

    Obvioulsy if the Government elected (as intelligent as they are) fails to adhere to common sense and reason and still goes a head and pass such a law on guns, then I can only think of a hidden agenda.

    With the current securtiy climate in the Philippines coupled with an unreliable system that is suppose to protect the law abiding citizen, a total gun ban law for law abiding citizens is an insult to the laws of self preservation.

    here’s a thought….maybe impose a gun ban on criminals!? hmmm silly people.

    It would be nice to have strict gun laws in a country governed by an administration that is clear and tranparent and is not dynasty based. An administration willing to negotiate with the public that they serve rather than implement laws that facilitate plunder by officals.

    Until Philippines reaches that level of enlightenment, then I am PRO GUN! neither the Church or the Government can stop someone raping and murdering my famliy. That burden belongs to me.


    Sorry guys. just my POV




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