Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was first published in Interaksyon.com on October 19, 2011.


Gun control? We need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost 5,000 dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn’t have any innocent bystanders. – Chris Rock

Why was the president’s political adviser carrying a machinegun in his car? I presume it’s because he’s been told that anybody who has ever been in a shoot-out armed only with a pistol wished he had a machinegun.

I know Ronald Llamas has a right to self-defense. There’s no question about that. What I don’t understand is why he did not simply get more bodyguards or bullet-proof his car or walk away from his job or take the ultimate measure to frustrate assassins: shoot himself in the head before they get a chance to shoot him. Just kidding.

I’m also baffled why the president turned himself into an echo chamber for the pro-gun lobby.  “He (Llamas) received threats to his life. The right to self defense is accorded by the Constitution,” the president said, ala Wayne La Pierre of the National Rifle Association of America. Wayne La Pierre. That sounds like the name of a French bakery or a hair salon. That bulge under Wayne’s jacket is probably a baguette or a hair dryer. I think David Letterman said that first. But it could also have been me.

Local gun advocates pick up their mantras from their American counterparts. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” So what do we get rid of first, guns or hands that shoot guns? “We have to carry a gun because cops are never around when you need them.” Yes, show the world you can draw your gun faster than it will take anyone with a gun already drawn to pull the trigger. “When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.” And if everybody has a gun how are we supposed to tell who is an outlaw? Simple. We tattoo “Good Guy” on the forehead of every gun-toting law-abiding citizen, right?

At the beginning of martial law, Ferdinand Marcos, the smartest politician since Manuel Quezon, decreed a total gun ban. Gun-related crimes and deaths ground to a halt. Unfortunately, Marcos granted exemptions before a no-gun society could take root. His successors could have reinstituted the gun ban but not one of them did. So here we are today. A presidential adviser armed with a machinegun and passion-shootings inside shopping malls. And still gun advocates insist, “It could have been prevented if the victim also had a gun” or “That only means there is an urgent need for stricter gun controls.” Only Nandy Pacheco points out the obvious, there are no shootings where there are no guns. If only he can think as clearly when it comes to the RH Bill…well, we all have our blind spots.

Both pro and anti-gun groups can produce reams of statistics and studies to support their respective advocacy. But I don’t care about their studies and statistics.  And neither should you. Because the real issue is about fundamental fairness, parity, if you will. That’s what we should be talking about.

If some people can have guns, albeit after meeting certain strict criteria, and others can’t, for whatever reason, then we are creating a situation where a select few enjoy an unfair advantage. What’s the justification for that? Doesn’t everybody deserve an even break? Why don’t we level the playing field, either guns are available to everyone or nobody is allowed a gun. Let’s debate that and decide which situation we prefer, guns for all or no guns at all. And we can also cut right through that crap about the right to bear arms. That right exists in Wayne’s world not in ours.