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PNP to extend validity of expiring firearms licenses to December, 2015

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has extended to December, 2015 the validity of all firearms licenses due to expire from January to December this year.

Chief Supt. Virgilio Moro Lazo, Firearms and Explosive Office (FEO) director, said extension paves the way for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Law of 2013.

“The Philippine National Police is extending the validity of firearms licenses due to expire in January-December 2014 to allow the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to refocus more on the information technology enhancements of the firearms registration system,” said Lazo.

Lazo said Director General Alan Purisima, PNP chief, approved the recommendation to extend the validity of firearms licenses expiring this year.

But he said this was not the final gun amnesty sought in the new gun law but a way to facilitate the smooth registration of firearms.

The law called for a final gun amnesty but this was not fully implemented after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against its implementation based on a petition from some groups.

Lazo said there are 1.7 million licensed firearms registered with the PNP. The licenses of some 621,000 of them were set to expire this year.

“The extension of the validity of these firearms licenses was prompted by considerations regarding the period of publication of the revised fees and charges for registration and licensing requirements,” said Lazo.

“The information technology system for firearms registration is currently being upgraded to meet the demands of the service and the stakeholders which is crucial to the success of the licensing requirements,” he said.

However, firearms owners are expected to secure License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF) before December 31, 2015.

LTOPF is a major requirement for a person to buy firearms and have them registered. Failure to secure LTOPF means that a person will not be allowed to buy a gun in a legitimate gun store.

“So we are appealing to all gun owners to get LTOPF. We are already going to that direction so it is highly suggested for them and all those planning to own guns to get it,” said Lazo.

To expedite the process of securing LTOPF, Lazo said they will send a computer to every region to do the processing.

However, the PNP still has to set the processing fee for the LTOPF.

Those who secure the LTOPF this early will be issued a temporary receipt, he said.

The payment will follow either by the applicant to immediately paying after the determination of the LTOPF processing fee or by including the payment in the renewal of firearms licenses.

Lazo said that Purisima also authorized local police offices to issue Permit to Transport (PTT) firearms to holders of License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF) for ballistics and stenciling purposes as a requirement in the registration of firearms.