Two out of three licensed guns in PH owned by civilians, study says

About two out of three (69.85 percent) legal guns in the country are in the hands of civilians, Newsbreak.ph reports. According to the study "More Guns, More Risks," police records show that only 30.15 percent of licensed guns are in the hands of "official state actors such as the police, military, deputized government employees (or) officials, elected officials, reservist and diplomatic corps combined."

As of the first semester of 2008, there were 1,081,074 legal guns in the Philippines and about half are in the National Capital Region, according to the study by Jennifer Santiago Oreta.

"Mere possession of a gun emboldens one to take drastic action," said Santiago Oreta, a political science professor at the Ateneo de Manila University. She has also worked as a consultant to the Independent Commission to Investigate Private Armies, which was created after the Maguindanao massacre.

In 2002, the Philippines had the fifth highest number of murders committed using firearms in the world, Newsbreak.ph reports, citing the 8th United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems. Newsbreak.ph reports, "Authorities say most of the guns used in committing crimes were loose firearms."

According to the PNP, there were 482,162 loose firearms-those with expired licenses that were not renewed-in the country as of 2008.

For more on this story, log on to Newsbreak.ph.

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