Standing amid an array of foreign assault rifles and local shotguns at one of the Philippines' largest shopping malls, firearms aficionados celebrated the rise of the nation's new president.
Benigno Aquino, who took office on June 30, is an avid sports shooter and clips on YouTube show him using a semi-automatic pistol with great skill at a target shooting competition.
"The feeling is that he is one of us. He also inhales gunpowder," said Johnmuel Mendoza, head of PRO-Gun, the country's largest firearms-rights group, at the twice-yearly gun show in Manila's vast "Megamall".
Inhaling gunpowder? Could that explain some of the wild assertions we sometimes hear from the gun crowd? Is that even legal, inhaling gunpowder? (Before anybody starts attacking, I'm being facetious. I took that expression to mean he really, really loves guns.)
But what about the report we recently discussed, which I hope someone reported to Joe Huffman, about the crime going down during the six-months of restrictions? I wonder what the immediate future holds for the Philippines.
I'm expecting blood in the streets, how about you?
There are about 1.3 million licensed firearms in the Philippines, with 600,000 in the hands of private citizens and the rest held by the military, police and other law-enforcement agencies, according to police estimates.
However police said last year there were also about 1.1 million unlicensed firearms in the Philippines.
The combined tally means there is roughly one firearm in circulation for every 40 Filipinos.
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