19 November 2007

Are These Objects Harmless?

NO! These small pellets are as small as a mongo bean but when used with a pellet gun can travel at a speed of 200 feet! This small pellet made a girl in Calgary lose her eyesight! “Fifty children are admitted to hospitals each year. Eight to 10 of these children lose an eye," said Emile Therien of the Canada Safety Council.

THIS IS NOT A TOY. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury. Plastic projectiles travel at over 200 feet per second that is why it is being sold only for adults ages 18 and above in most states.

In the Philippines, Letter of Instruction 1964, signed in 1982, bans the importation, sale and public display of gun replicas yet like most laws lack proper support and implementation of authorities. A firearm is considered lethal and illegal if it fires a projectile larger than 5.5mm in diameter. Pellet and airsoft (airguns) guns are not toys and intended for training purpose only. Their sale should carry the necessary precautions and restricted to persons 18 years or older and requires adult supervision. Users must wear eye protection and must never point or shoot at people or animals or fire at hard surface to prevent ricochet.

I always find loose pellets in our yard. I picked up a few for evidence when I report to authorities. The users I see around my neighborhood are grade-school kids ages 5 to 10! I once observed one of our kid neighbor hitting the walls vigorously with a long stick. He does this practically every afternoon after school. Soon that kid discovered pellet guns and together with another child in the neighborhood started firing indiscriminately in the air! I called the attention of their guardians (the parents of most of these kids are not available) and one of them told me that she was not aware of the dangers of these guns. I called the attention of the authorities and told them to warn and educate the young offender.

Pellets guns are readily available in our community stores for P65 (a little over $1) while the pellets used in firing are sold from P5-P10 per pack which a lot of small children can easily afford to buy from their school allowance.

If you see pellets inside your yard and homes, try to locate the source and report to your nearest barangay. The parents and guardians of users of minor age are accountable for any accidents that may arise from careless use of such guns.

Remember, it takes only one small ball to cause serious physical injury. And it takes only a minute of your precious time to stop it.