Killing the Gun Industry

The Philippine National Police (PNP) may soon be the only government agency which can claim to have single-handedly bankrupted a thriving legitimate local industry—the firearms and ammunition industry. This comes at a time when national government, through its various agencies, is supposedly working double-time to stimulate investments and create new job opportunities.

The local gun industry’s woes began with the implementation of the Republic Act 10591, better known as the Comprehensive Firearms & Ammunition Act of 2013. Stakeholders welcomed the passage of the new law expecting a more predictable system covering all facets of legitimate gun ownership. It was hoped that the new gun law would do away with fickle gun regulations which tended to shift and sway with the whims of an incumbent PNP chief.

Mass lay offs? Bleak days await workers of the local firearms industry unless the national police adopts a licensing system that is friendlier to both seller and buyer. (Photo by IGG)
Mass layoffs? Bleak days await workers of the local firearms industry unless the national police adopts a licensing and registration system that is friendlier to both seller and buyer. (Photo by IGG)

Sadly, R.A. 10591 may have given the PNP too much of a leeway in setting the Implementing Rules & Regulations (IRR) for purchases, licensing and the general ownership of firearms. While the new law may have looked good on paper,  the Devil was indeed in the details, it turned out!

Very apparent mismanagement in the licensing and registration system has completely neutralized whatever benefits that legitimate gun owners could have derived from the new gun law. Also, a corruption scandal connected to the “door-to-door” delivery of gun license cards has probably not helped! Half a year into the new law’s implementation, the process of applying for “Licenses to Own and Possess” as well as the registration of new and old guns are virtually at a standstill.

And as other state agencies leap into the Information & Communications Technology age, the PNP is actually regressing. It has centralized the processing of all gun license applications and renewals at Camp Crame in Quezon City, regardless of what part of the country the applicant resides! That, together with other ridiculously capricious new regulations, has made the legal purchase of any sort of firearm by civilians painfully costly and laborious if not nearly impossible.

As a result, local arms dealers have been unable to sell a single firearm in nearly six months! The Association of Firearms & Ammunitions Dealers of the Philippines (AFAD) reports that its members alone used to sell an average of three thousand guns to the private sector every month.

Speaking before lawmakers, AFAD president Jethro Dionisio lamented that gun shops have been constrained to cut store hours and lay off staff in order to remain in business. They have apparently adopted these cost-cutting measures in the hope that they can ride out this extended period of uncertainty. However, a quick survey of local gun shops will reveal that some have not opened their doors in weeks.

Growth interrupted: Until recently, the Philippine arms industry was on a steady uptick due to growing domestic and international market. It employs thousands of skilled workers. (Photo by IGG)
Growth interrupted: Until recently, the Philippine arms industry was on a steady uptick due to growing markets domestically and overseas. It employs thousands of skilled workers. (Photo by IGG)

Local manufacturers have been hit especially hard. Shooters Arms Manufacturing, a once-thriving gun maker based in Cebu City, has reportedly laid off 255 employees as a direct result of the absence of sales. Meantime, Paranaque City-based Metro Arms Corporation (MAC) is resorting to other measures in order to stay afloat. MAC president Hector Rodriguez says they have cut the work week by one day in order to hold on to their workforce.

It may be up to Congress to rectify the unexpected side effects that arose from R.A. 10591. This, because Malacanang’s confidence in the current PNP leadership, while arguably undeserved, is not expected to change anytime soon! Our policy-makers must come to the realization that there is more at stake here than just the bottomline of big business and the convenience of shooting enthusiasts.

How many more Filipinos will find themselves jobless in the days and weeks to come?

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7 thoughts on “Killing the Gun Industry

  1. A lot of these workers came from the illegal gun factories of Danao. Now that they’ve again lost their jobs, where do you think will they go? Not only has the government singlehandedly killed a legitimate industry, they have revived the blackmarket and illegal arms trade, exactly what they were trying to address in the beginning. Once again, the government has confirmed that they cannot be trusted. This is economic sabotage.

  2. when i visited a certain gun manufacturer’s plant in Sucat, i asked him how business was doing after we shook hands.

    all he said to me was “it’s pretty bad, it’s pretty bad.” but they seem to be managing.. somewhat.

    i kinda felt depressed after that. i feel for them too.

    and then he proceeded to have me toured around their place. it was nice seeing how an AR-15 starts from chunks of T6-7075 aluminum and steel and is formed into the finished product.

    anyway, to think our “beloved” President is a gun enthusiast too…. and he allowed this shit to happen. it’s insane.

  3. when i visited a certain gun manufacturer’s plant in Sucat, i asked him how business was doing after we shook hands.

    all he said to me was “it’s pretty bad, it’s pretty bad.” but they seem to be managing.. somewhat.

    i kinda felt depressed after that. i feel for them too.

    and then he proceeded to have me toured around their place. it was nice seeing how an AR-15 starts from chunks of T6-7075 aluminum and steel and is formed into the finished product.

    anyway, to think our “beloved” President is a gun enthusiast too…. and he allowed this shit to happen. it’s insane.

  4. Arguing this case on the side of the manufacturers won’t work. People lose jobs everyday. The gun industry isn’t any different. I am for gun ownership but I support this not because it keeps an industry alive but because it gives me peace of mind.That I can protect myself and my family when the time comes.

    1. As for me, I will purchase a Danao made. In this way where I can extend a little help for those self supporting gun makers, and at the same time I have a tool to protect myself and my family when the need arises. Kagaguhan na ang mga panukala ng mga namamahala sa gobyerno natin e.

  5. considering that civilian gun purchases help companies shoulder R&D and manufacturing for military and LE purchases, the PNP are actually sabotaging themselves.

    i’ve a friend in the industry that are saddened by the fact that both of us are being stonewalled from making a legitimate purchase/transaction.

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