Penalties for Unlawful Acts Under the New Firearms Law of the Philippines

Unlawful Acts Under the New Firearms Law Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices Image

RA 10591

In 2012, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 10591, or otherwise known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act (“RA 10591”).

Under this law, the following is the summary enumerating the unlawful acts as punished under RA 10591, categorized according to their penalties, as follows:

Reclusion Perpetua

The following are the unlawful acts punished by reclusion perpetua:

  1. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of Class-B light weapon;
  2. Planting of evidence by a public officer or employee; and
  3. Arms Smuggling. – The penalty of reclusion perpetua.  

Class-B Light weapons refer to weapons designed for use by two (2) or more persons serving as a crew, or rifles and machine guns exceeding caliber 7.62MM such as heavy machine guns, handheld underbarrel and mounted grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems, portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems, and mortars of a caliber of less than 100MM.

12 Years And 1 Day To 40 Years

The following are the unlawful acts punished by reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, that is, from 12 years and 1 day to 40 years:

  1. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of three (3) or more small arms or Class-A light weapons; and
  2. Unlawful Manufacture, Importation, Sale or Disposition of Firearms or Ammunition or Parts Thereof, Machinery, Tool or Instrument Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms, Ammunition or Parts Thereof.

Class-A Light weapons refer to self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, submachine guns, assault rifles and light machine guns not exceeding caliber 7.62MM which have fully automatic mode.

12 Years And 1 Day To 20 Years

The following acts shall be punished by reclusion temporal, that is, from 12 years and 1 day to 20 years:

  1. Disposition, Sale or Transfer of government-issued firearms, ammunition or major parts of firearms or light weapons by any law enforcement agent or public officer to private individuals.

10 Years And 1 Day To 12 Years

These are the unlawful acts punished by prision mayor in its maximum period, that is, from 10 years and 1 day to 12 years:

  1. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of Class-A light weapon ;
  2. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of a major part of a Class-B light weapon;
  3. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of ammunition for a Class-B light weapon; and
  4. Planting Evidence – any person who shall willfully and maliciously insert; place, and/or attach, directly or indirectly, through any overt or covert act, any firearm, or ammunition, or parts thereof in the person, house, effects, or in the immediate vicinity of an innocent individual for the purpose of implicating or incriminating the person, or imputing the commission of any violation of the provisions of this Act to said individual.

8 Years And 1 Day To 10 Years

These are the unlawful acts punished by prision mayor in its medium period, that is, from 8 years and 1 day to 10 years:

  1. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of a Small Arm;
  2. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of a major part of a Class-A light weapon; and
  3. Unlawful Acquisition, or Possession of an ammunition for a Class-A light weapon.

6 Years And 1 Day To 8 Years

These are the unlawful acts punished by prision mayor in its minimum period (from 6 years and 1 day to 8 years:

  1. Acquisition or Possession of a major part of a small arm; and
  2. Acquisition or Possession of an ammunition for a small arm or Class-A light weapon.

6 Months And 1 Day To 8 Years

The following is the unlawful act punished by prision mayor in its minimum period, that is, from 6 months and 1 day to 8 years:

  1. Tampering, Obliteration or Alteration of Firearms Identification

6 Months And 1 Day To 6 Years

These are the unlawful acts punished by prision correccional, that is, from 6 months and 1 day to 6 years:

  1. Absence of Permit to Carry Outside of Residence. – The penalty of prision correccional (From 6 months and 1 day to 6 years) and a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who is licensed to own a firearm but who shall carry the registered firearm outside his/her residence without any legal authority therefor.
  2. Illegal Transfer/Registration of Firearms
  3. Any public officer or employee or any person who shall facilitate the registration of a firearm through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or submission of falsified documents shall suffer the penalty of prision correccional.

Use of Loose Firearm in the Commission of a Crime

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.

As a rule, when a firearm is used in the commission of a crime, it shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance. However, in the following instances, the rule are as follows:

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 in the preceding section for illegal possession of firearm, the penalty for illegal possession of firearm shall be imposed in lieu of the penalty for the 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.

If the violation of this Act is in furtherance of, or incident to, or in connection with the crime of rebellion of insurrection, or attempted coup d’ etat, such violation shall be absorbed as an element of the crime of rebellion or insurrection, or attempted coup d’ etat.

If the crime is committed by the person without using the loose firearm, the violation of this Act shall be considered as a distinct and separate offense.

Fine Only

Failure to Notify Lost or Stolen Firearm or Light Weapon. – A fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) shall be imposed upon any licensed firearm holder who fails to report to the FEO of the PNP that the subject firearm has been lost or stolen within a period of thirty (30) days from the date of discovery.

Likewise, a fine of Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person holding a valid firearm license who changes residence or office address other than that indicated in the license card and fails within a period of thirty (30) days from said transfer to notify the FEO of the PNP of such change of address.

The Crime of Use of an Imitation Firearm

Peculiar provision under RA 10591 is that when you are using only a fake or an imitation firearm, you will be liable as if you are using a real one. The crime is Use of an Imitation Firearm, and the law states that an imitation firearm used in the commission of a crime shall be considered a real firearm and the person who committed the crime shall be punished in accordance with this Act.

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