Philippines: Priests, Journos Can Carry Guns

Law relaxed for professions 'in imminent danger'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2014 12:12 AM CST
Philippines: Priests, Journalists Can Carry Guns
Filipinos try out pistols at an annual gun show in suburban Manila. There are at least 1.2 million registered firearms in the country.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Pistol-packing priests may become a common sight in the Philippines with relaxed new gun laws that allow members of certain professions to arm themselves while at work. Journalists, doctors, nurses, engineers, and accountants will also be allowed to go armed under the law, which states that they are "in imminent danger due to their profession," CNN reports. To get a permit, they will have to pass drug and psychiatric tests and certify that they have no criminal convictions or pending prosecutions.

"I appreciate the concern of the state, considering we are one of the most murderous countries for journalists and the most murderous country for lawyers and judges," a human rights lawyer tells the South China Morning Post. "I could see the state interest in making this classification to prevent further targeting and killing." But for people found guilty of possessing unlicensed guns, the law sets out harsh new penalties of at least 30 years in jail. (More Philippines stories.)

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