Senate passes bill seeking tougher penalties for indiscriminate discharge of firearms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — The Senate unanimously approved on final reading a bill penalizing willful and indiscriminate discharge of firearms, amending the Revised Penal Code.

Voting 21-0-0, the upper chamber on Thursday passed Senate Bill 2501 or an Act Penalizing Wilful and Indiscriminate discharge of firearms, amending Act no. 3815, or the Revised Penal Code.

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and sponsor of the bill, said the public is "not strangers to the incidents that gave rise to the need for this measure."

"We have heard too many stories of mothers, fathers, and children expressing their sorrows and weeping for their family members who became victims of indiscriminate use of firearms," he said in a statement.

"I will say it again, as a gun safety advocate, I condemn every senseless incident of injuries and loss of innocent lives because of reckless, careless and negligent use and handling of firearms," the former national police chief said.

Under the measure, any person found guilty of wilfully and indiscriminately discharging any firearms or other device that may not have been designed as firearms but can be functionally used as a firearm shall face the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period “unless the facts of the case can be held to constitute any other offenses of which a higher penalty is prescribed.”

The bill also imposes tougher penalties for members of the military and its auxiliary agencies and other law enforcers.

Any firearm license or permit issued to the offender should also be canceled, the bill read.

"The offender shall be perpetually disqualified from being granted any firearm license or permit," it added.

In March 2020, the House of Representatives also approved a similar measure against discharge and indiscriminate firing.

Under House Bill No. 6123, persons who will fire their guns or any device that "can functionally adapted and used as a firearm" shall face a penalty of prision correccional (which by definition is equivalent to a minimum of 6 months and 1 day to 2 years and 4 months imprisonment) in its maximum period.

Law enforcers who break rules shall also be given a penalty one degree higher than people who are not in the service.