Gatchalian bats for stiffer penalties vs indiscriminate firing

Published May 28, 2022, 9:24 AM

by Mario Casayuran

It is high time that stiffer penalties be meted out against those involved in indiscriminate firing of guns, including devices that could be functionally used as a firearm such as homemade gun, to emphasize the seriousness of the offense, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Saturday, May 28.

“Perpetrators of these shooting sprees should be dealt with an iron hand by making them suffer heavier penalties,’’ according to Gatchalian, principal author of Senate Bill (SB) 2501, which was approved on third reading Thursday.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, sponsor of the bill, said that “despite the various provisions under the Revised Penal Code penalizing illegal discharge of firearms, offenders are not deterred in the commission of the crime.”.

‘’As such, there is a need to introduce a more severe punishment to thwart the occurrence of these incidents,” Senator Ronald “ Dela Rosa explained.

The proposed measure, entitled “An Act Penalizing Willful and Indiscriminate Discharge of Firearms which seeks to amend Act No. 3815, also 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 added.