It’s high time that stiffer penalties be meted out against those involved in indiscriminate firing of firearms, including devices that can be functionally used as a firearm such as homemade gun, to emphasize the seriousness of the offense, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
“Perpetrators of these shooting sprees should be dealt with an iron hand by making them suffer heavier penalties. Hindi dapat natin hayaan ang mga iresponsableng indibidwal na nakawin ang mga inosenteng buhay dahil lamang sa kapritso nilang magpaputok ng baril na dapat ay ginagamit lamang sa pagtatanggol sa sarili laban sa mga kriminal,” said Gatchalian, principal author of Senate Bill 2501 which was approved on third reading Thursday.
The proposed measure, entitled “An Act Penalizing Willful and Indiscriminate Discharge of Firearms which seeks to amend Act No. 3815 otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code (RPC),” transfers the act of discharging firearms from the purview of Alarms and Scandal provision of the RPC to the more serious offense of Discharge of Firearms under Article 254, which carries a stiffer penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period or six months of imprisonment.
It also imposes a penalty one degree higher if the offender happens to be a member of the military and military auxiliary agencies, law enforcement agencies authorized to bear firearms, and if such discharge of firearms is not in the performance of official duties.
They may also be held administratively liable and their firearm license or permit shall be summarily cancelled and shall also be perpetually disqualified from being granted any firearm license or permit, Gatchalian said.
“These stiffer penalties may be harsh to some but these, I believe, would not even be enough to compensate for the loss of lives of innocent victims. Many instances of indiscriminate firing also brought permanent disability to some who were unintentionally injured,” he added.
“These senseless acts of individuals who probably believe that their shooting sprees are harmless should be put to a stop. Gun owners should do their share in keeping their communities safe,” Gatchalian ended.