WITH this piece, I hope for the start of regularity; that there will be no more missed deadlines for this gun-loving pen-packer.

I am afraid, however, that this is going to be tough to keep.

The year of the Water Snake is also an election year and, therefore, a Comelec gun ban year. That means there won’t be much in terms of activities in our shooting ranges from mid-January to mid-July.

Moreover, the unfortunate death of Stephanie Nicole Ella in Caloocan City threatens to resurrect an old, worn and discredited thesis–gun bans prevent crime and that the regrettable incident could have been avoided had there been one in place.

This, in turn, is fueling some people to advocate that the government should just extend the ban and extend it permanently.

True enough, there is some buzz in social media.

On Twitter, for example, Lorenzo Del Carmen (@LorenzoDelC) wrote: “A total #gunban would be a great preventive measure to make everyone safe.”

Thankfully, per the last time I checked the hashtag, people aren’t readily joining the bandwagon. The discussion isn’t as emotionality-driven as one would expect.

Jim Lopez (@jimjim875) wrote: “Preventing the spread of loose firearms, and not a total #gunban is what I think we need. I lived in Abra, I should know.”

John Allanegui (@JohnAllanegui) agrees. “In the PH, those with private guns feel safer
than they would be w/o them, but those without become more vulnerable.”

Obviously, I don’t count myself as among the supporters of the argument. Heck, I’m
even opposed to Comelec imposing one for the elections. We’ve had gun bans since I’ve became old enough to vote and these have never curbed election violence.

Moreover, the existing firearm law, Republic Act 8294, already prevents people from
carrying firearms in places of political assembly.

A Comelec-imposed gun ban, therefore, seems redundant as it is already criminal to carry a gun in places where somebody who is planning to sow chaos would want to bring one.

But, given the proximity to that utterly deplorable incident involving Stephanie Nicole Ella, I can understand why there would be those supporting the ban.

Involving a firearm in merry-making is plain-and-simple stupid. Only those living in the dark ages would not find the illogic behind it.

I am positive that everyone in this vast and vibrant sport and self-defense shooting community we live in is hoping that the person responsible for Stephanie Nicole Ella’s death would be caught and made to fully account for his negligent and irresponsible criminal act.

Firearm responsibility is something everyone in the gun club, regardless of which one, advocates for. Warning against irresponsible firearm handling is something we in the gun clubs do all year round. It is part of a greater global campaign.

My last column for 2012 (http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/sports/2012/12/09/rama-dreading-december-257550), and every column I’ve written ever since I began here close to a decade ago for that matter, has been themed towards the furtherance of this advocacy.

It hasn’t been for naught. If people currently supporting moves for a permanent gun ban could take a quiet and contemplative step backwards, they’d recognize that deaths resulting from irresponsible firearm handling have reduced in numbers over the years.

This is thanks to education and it is what we do in the gun clubs – make each gun owner aware and mindful that the potential for good that their guns possess either as an instrument of self-defense or sport is equal to the potential it has for harm when misused or irresponsibly handled, and that the sole deciding factor of what happens next are the hands that currently wield it.

And this opportunity to educate is lost in a gun ban.