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Wild west? Wild PH?

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“The PNP said there were about 200 priests seeking gun permits of late.”

First, this rubbernecker’s apologies to the people who lived in the Old West.

Recent articles said it wasn’t that wild back then when expansion of the American frontier by the early European settlers was at its height.

There were gun-slinging villains and heroes from that great history, but cinematic dramatization of their lives is simply that—all meant for the silver screen and for the entertainment of those who have not witnessed the hard life of early America.

John Wayne entertained. Henry McCarty killed just eight people before he was shot and killed at age 21.

As the cinematic Billy the Kid, McCarty had killed more than he ever did while living.

But they had guns then. We have guuuuns now.

Gunpolicy.org claims there are about four million guns in the hands of Filipinos at present.

The number counts the illicit ownership and possession of unregistered guns, which of late Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said some 20,000 firearms remain unaccounted in Mindanao.

According to Galvez, that’s about still 80 percent of the AFP estimate of loose firearms in the region, justifying the need to keep Mindanao under martial law, more than a year after the war in Marawi.

And that is just in Mindanao, where folklore says most men love their guns more than their wives.

Gun ownership in the Philippines is legal. A prospective gun owner only needs to submit requirements, including results of his drug test and neuro-psychiatric examination. Those are aside from his proof of employment and a police clearance.

The others, like photographs and a residence certificate, are a cinch.

In days, there would be priests lining up at the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office at Camp Crame to be able to own and possibly carry guns with them. Yes, even when they officiate the Mass.

Two of them have been shot and killed while officiating a Mass, recently. So, why not?
The PNP said there were about 200 priests seeking gun permits of late. This was their reaction to the spate of priest killings that recently hogged the headlines.

National police chief Oscar Albayalde had expressed willingness to help arm priests who want to carry guns.

“For them to feel safe,” he said.

But are we? Or are they, even if they carry guns?
We have seen this story before. But lawyers and prosecutors were the targets then.
And then they sought to be armed. And they did.

Now it’s the priests.

Who could be arming themselves tomorrow?
There is a proliferation of guns already.

Too many guns are no longer just the problem of the US, where occurrence of shootings happen almost regularly, but also in other countries, including the Philippines where at least a person is shot and killed each and every day.

And last week, it was reported that President Duterte would give away 42,000 guns to the public.

No more, Mr. President!
Just keep those guns in the hands of the military, with whom they could be of use.
The police should not even carry guns, as they are civilians.

Police in Norway, Ireland, Iceland and New Zealand don’t.

If and when it happens here, then we could say we are safe and living in a better Philippines already.

But for now, we’ll be seeing clergies tucking guns.
How ironic!

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