Republic Act No. 10591, an “Act Providing for a Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition and Providing Penalties for Violations thereof” was signed into law on May 29, 2013.
Among the salient features of the new firearms law is its repeal of the sweeping “no other crime” clause under the Sec.1 of P.D. 1866 as amended by R.A. 8294. A person is not liable for violation of the old firearms law, (say, illegal possession of firearm) if he also committed another crime (like violation of COMELEC gun ban or even a lighter offense of Alarms and Scandals under the Revised Penal Code). Prior conviction in the “other crime” committed will obliterate one’s otherwise separate liability under the firearms law. In the old law, what is punished is the “other crime” regardless if the use or possession of firearms is inherent or necessary in the commission of that “other crime”.
Under the new law, the rules are different. The penalty for violation of the new firearms law, particularly the use of loose firearms (Loose firearm refers to an unregistered firearm, an obliterated or altered firearm, firearm which has been lost or stolen, illegally manufactured firearms, registered firearms in the possession of an individual other than the licensee and those with revoked licenses in accordance with the rules and regulations) is not imposed only when the use of loose firearms is “inherent” in the commission of the “other crime.” In such case, the use or possession of loose firearms is merely considered as an aggravating circumstance. Otherwise, the use or possession of loose firearms and violation of other penal law shall be treated as distinct crimes and will thus be punished separately. The new law expressly provides that “if the crime is committed without using the loose firearm, the violation of this Act [RA No. 10591] shall be considered as a distinct and separate offense.”
The new law further provides that if the crime committed with the use of a loose firearm is penalized by the law with a maximum penalty which is lower than that prescribed for illegal possession of firearm, the penalty for illegal possession of firearm shall be imposed IN LIEU OF the penalty for the “other crime” charged. If the crime committed with the use of a loose firearm is penalized by the law with a maximum penalty which is equal to that imposed under the preceding section for illegal possession of firearms, the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed IN ADDITION to the penalty for the crime punishable under the Revised Penal Code or other special laws of which he/she is found guilty. (Please refer to Section 29 of RA 10591)
Other salient provisions of the new are Sections 4, 7, 10, 21, 26
Ignorance of the law excuses no one!