AMID a number of deadly incidents wherein police have accidentally shot themselves or others while cleaning, unloading or handling their guns, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Saturday ordered the regular conduct of firearms’ safety seminars for members of the force.
He said the gun safety seminars will be conducted vis-à-vis with regular marksmanship training for uniformed police personnel as part of their continuing effort to further enhance the shooting skills of their men.
Eleazar explained that owning and carrying service firearms everyday come with the responsibility of ensuring responsible ownership that includes when to use them and the continuous honing of skills to shoot well.
“As part of the continuous efforts to further improve our operational capability and professionalize the PNP, I have already tasked the PNP Training Service to conduct regular refresher course on gun safety and marksmanship training for all our uniformed personnel,” said the top cop.
“Bilang bahagi ng ahensya ng pamahalaan na pinagkakatiwalaan at binigyan ng kapangyarihan ng taumbayan na magdala ng baril araw-araw, nararapat lamang na tiyakin natin na ang konsepto ng responsible gun ownership ay nasa puso at isip ng ating mga pulis at kabilang dito ang sapat na kasanayan sa paggamit nito para maiwasan ang mga aksidente at matiyak na sulitin ang tiwala ng ating mga kababayan na gagamitin ang aming service firearms sa tamang dahilan,” he explained.
Eleazar cited previous incidents wherein some police personnel were either injured, maimed or killed due to accidental firing of their PNP-issued firearms.
He said as the PNP is promoting and requiring responsible gun ownership for civilians who want to own firearms, the standard on gun safety and shooting skills must be high for police personnel.
Part of this, according to the PNP chief, is the continuous coordination with local and international partners to continuously upgrade the skills of PNP uniformed personnel in the conduct of law enforcement operations.
“Kasabay ng kautusang ito ay ang pagtitiyak na sapat ang supply ng mga kagamitan para sa pagsasagawa ng marksmanship training sa aming hanay at patuloy na pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga local and foreign counterparts para sa mga makabagong istratehiya ng pagsasagawa ng law enforcement operations,” he said.
Dozens of reported “accidental shooting incidents” involving uniformed police personnel have been investigated in the past. In many cases, the victims were killed or maimed while reportedly cleaning their guns and squeezing the trigger thinking it was not loaded.
Unmindful of the shooter’s commandment “Consider every gun as loaded,” some policemen have accidentally shot their head, chest, stomach or foot or worst, hit other persons when their guns went off due to their reckless handling of the weapon.
There were also cases of policemen who have killed or seriously injured their colleagues or other civilians when their guns went off accidentally as they were toying with it or bragging about the weapon.
Past 10 p.m. last Friday, one Jayson Capistrano was killed in a reported accidental firing of the gun of Corporal Oliver Ferrer of the Manila Police District Station 1 in Tondo.
The incident took place inside the barangay hall of Bgy. 183, Zone 16 in Gagalangin area 10:4 p.m. Friday.
An initial investigation showed that Ferrer and a colleague identified as Cpl. Jerome Mingote went to the area to visit barangay chairman Joseph Lipasana.
While having a conversation with the 31-year-old Capistrano, Ferrer reportedly jokingly drew his firearm and it allegedly went off accidentally hitting the victim who died while being taken to the Chinese General Hospital.
MPD director Brigadier Gen. Leo M. Francisco said Ferrer surrendered to the local police station and turned over his weapon – a PNP-issued Pietro Beretta caliber 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Appropriate criminal and administrative charges are being readied against the policeman, Francisco said.