Plan to limit ownership of guns criticized By ARIS R. ILAGAN Officials of the Association of Firearms and Ammunition Dealers (AFAD) yesterday criticized the reported plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to limit the ownership by civilians of firearms to just 10. This reportedly is the start of the governments plan to control gun ownership in the private sector. In his speech at the opening of the Defense and Sporting Arms Show Part 2 at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall in Mandaluyong City, AFAD president Ner Diosinio disclosed that former PNP chief Director General Arturo C. Lomibao recommended to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ronaldo Puno to enforce a policy that will limit ownership of civilians to a maximum of 10 firearms. In the recommendation signed last June 30, or six days before Lomibaos retirement, Lomibao reportedly recommended to the DILG that upon expiration, licenses issued by the PNP Firearms and Explosives Division (FED) will not be renewed and guns covered by these will be considered loose firearms. If the license holder has more than 10 firearms under his name, he will only be allowed to own 10 and surrender his remaining firearms, Dionisio revealed. Chief Supt. Arturo Cacdac, PNP-FED director who was among the special guest during the opening of the AFAD gun show, admitted that he already saw a copy of Lomibaos recommendation. "I dont want to comment about the issue because it is still under review," Cacdac said. Dionisio said that move would contradict the governments effort to lure civilians with unlicensed firearms to register their firearms through an amnesty program. "Next time that there will be an amnesty period for firearms, no one will avail of their program because of this proposed policy." According to the PNP, there are about 800,000 licensed firearms in the hands of civilians nationwide. However, there are at least 500,000 loose firearms, some of which are in the hands of criminals and rebel groups. "The PNP will be put in a bad light. After asking civilians to avail of the amnesty program, the government will come up with a policy requiring them to surrender their other firearms," Dionisio stressed. "We reiterated our request, on behalf of the industry, on behalf of the 800,000 licenses of firearms to please reconsider this policy," he added. Meanwhile, three "power ladies" world class practical shooting champion Mary Grace Tan, Marilou Rones Tawang (Metropolitan Trial Court-Pateros presiding judge), and Julie Rose Defensor (wife of Presidential Chief of Staff Secretary Michael Defensor) led the opening of the Defense and Sporting Arms Show Part 2 attended by many gun enthusiasts. Tawang said she has been into the sport of practical shooting for almost two years now and she is a licensed gun owner since 2001. Tawang said that women, in these modern times, should be allowed to carry firearms either for sporting purposes or selfdefense since many of them have assumed roles in the society that are critical and may require serious concern for personal safety. Using Taurus .357 revolvers loaded with wax bullets, Tan, Defensor, and Tawang showed their shooting prowess by hitting targets with accuracy in the IPSC Shooting Simulation firing range opened for civilians for the fiveday gun show. This years gun show theme is "Women Who Empower and Defend Themselves."