BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prohibiting the display, distribution, possession or sale of toys which imitate real weapons in the city and providing penalties for violations of the measure.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it will be a policy of the local government to help in the elimination of the unsupervised use and threat of using imitation weapons or firearms to commit crimes as well as to safeguard residents, particularly the youth, including foreign and domestic tourists, from untoward incidents that could be a matter of life or death.
Under the proposal, toy weapon would mean toys that imitate real weapons but are designed for children to play with while toy firearm means toys that resemble firearms, but cannot reasonably be mistaken as working firearms by the general public and do not have the functionality of working firearms.
The ordinance shall cover the sale, procurement, possession and use of weapon replicas including but not limited to plastic or metal toy guns, knives, balisong, knuckles and similar objects.
The ordinance stipulated that it shall be unlawful for any person to sell or offer to sell, possess or use or attempt to use or give away any imitation firearm or weapon which substantially duplicates or can reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm or weapon.
However, the prohibition enshrined in the measure shall not apply to any toy weapon o imitation firearm that will be used only for or in the production of television programs or theatrical or motion picture presentations, provided, that such use is compliant to all applicable laws, rules and regulations; sale or disposal or use of what are known as ‘water guns’ or such imitation firearm as that can be loaded with water, provided, that such imitation firearm is constructed entirely of transparent or translucent materials, which permits unmistakable observation of the imitation or toy firearms’ complete contents and airsoft, air guns and other similar items, provided, that they are used in lawful activities.
Yangot added any person who wilfully violates the provisions of the ordinance, upon conviction, shall be penalized with a fine of P1,000 for the first offense, a fine of P2,000 for the second offense and a fine of P3,000 or an imprisonment not exceeding 1 month or both at the discretion of the court for the third offense.
If a child is the possessor, seller, or distributor of the prohibited items, the ordinance stated that provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act and other related laws will govern the offender.
The ordinance cited that all toy weapons or firearms described in the measure which are displayed or otherwise used for illegal or criminal purposes will be subject for immediate confiscation by the police authorities.
The ordinance emphasized that the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) shall lead in the strict implementation of the pertinent provisions of the measure by disseminating the necessary information that will inform and enjoin retailers of toys and minors to observe the same.
By Dexter A. See