Comelec: Gun ban starts January 10

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Beginning January 10, 2016, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will enforce a gun ban, hopefully to lessen and prevent cases of election-related violence.

Comelec Resolution No. 10015 prohibits the carrying or transportation of firearms or other deadly weapons in public areas, 120 days before the May 2016 polls and 30 days after the election day — or until June 8, 2016— unless authorized by the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP).

The Commission, through the CBFSP, has the sole and exclusive power to issue Certificates of Authority to carry or transport firearms and explosives, including spare parts and components.

Also during the gun ban, the issuance of firearms and licences and permits to carry firearms outside of residence shall be suspended and deemed ineffective and without force and effect.

Exemptions

Rule III Section 1, however, exempts from gun ban the President, the Vice President, senators, and members of the House of Representatives  — who are not candidates; cabinet secretaries, the Chief Justices, justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax appeals; and judges of the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal/ Metropolitan/ Circuit Trial Courts.

The Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen; the Chairmen and Commissioners of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Commission on Audit (COA), and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); security Personnel of Foreign Diplomatic Corps; regular officers, members, and agents of government agencies performing law enforcement and/or security duties, are also authorized to bear and carry or transport firearms during the gun ban.

Those who fail to abide by the gun ban, according to the resolution, shall face imprisonment of up to 6 years or may be disqualified permanently from holding public office and may lose the right to vote.

Aside from these, those who will violate the gun ban may face cancellation of license or permit to carry and transport firearms and/or may be subjected to perpetual disqualification to secure such license or permit.

Foreigners who will violate the ruling shall also be subjected to deportation, but only after prison term is served.