COMMENTS BY THE AFRIKANER SELF-DETERMINATION PARTY (“AFRSP”) ON THE DRAFT FIREARMS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL, 2021 IN TERMS OF GOVERNMENT NOTICE NO. 437 IN GOVERNMENT GAZETTE NO. 44593 DATED 21 MAY 2021.
The AFRSP hereby respectfully comments as follows on the abovementioned draft Bill:
- PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO DEFINITIONS.
- “dedicated hunter” – The proposed amendment, which states that a dedicated hunter is a person who qualifies to engage in hunting, and actively participates in the prescribed manner in such hunting activity, suggests that a dedicated hunter would have to “qualify to hunt” whereas an occasional hunter would not. This does not make any sense. Furthermore, the suggestion that a dedicated hunter should be required to hunt in a “prescribed manner” while the occasional hunter would not, does not make sense either. Furthermore, it is not explained who the government has in mind to “prescribe” the manner in which a dedicated hunter would be required to hunt. This makes true public consultation in this regard impossible. It is suggested that the present definition remains unchanged.
- “dedicated sports person” – The proposed amendment has the same new phrases inserted as the proposed amendment of “dedicated hunter”, and the same comment therefore applies.
- PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE PREAMBLE OF THE ACT.
- The proposed deletion of existing statements in the preamble is astonishingly out of touch with reality and therefore irrational to the extent of being unconstitutional. Four of the existing statements are:
“WHEREAS every person has the right to life and the right to security of the person, which includes, among others the right to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;
AND WHEREAS the adequate protection of such rights is fundamental to the well-being and social and economic development of every person;
AND WHEREAS the increased availability and abuse of firearms and ammunition has contributed significantly to the high levels of violent crime in our society;
The proposed deletion of these statements and others such as Sections 13 and 14, together with the many proposed amendments such as to Section 2(a) and the insertion of new provisions such as Sections 2A, 2 and 4(3(a) clearly indicate the line of thinking of the present government in this respect, namely to deny the rights of law-abiding persons as stated in the existing three statements in the preamble, make it as difficult as possible for them to exercise and protect those rights.The proposed deletion of the first statement above also indicates the irrational refusal to acknowledge that state institutions controlled by the ANC government have apparently been the largest public source of illicit firearms and ammunition to criminals since they came into power in 1994. The book ‘Give us more Guns” by Mark Shaw, published in 2021, provides a shocking perspective of this.
The author indicates inter alia that, according to police data for firearms lost by, or stolen from, individual members of the South African Police Service (“SAPS”) since 2001, the following appears:
2001-2004: On average just below 1000 firearms per month (Over the period 2004/2005 a total of more than 10 000 (ten thousand) SAPS firearms were reported missing or unaccounted for);
2005/2006: “a sudden and significant increase”;
2006/2007: A total of 3850 weapons;
2009/2010: “just over 3220” firearms;
2018/2019: “505 guns”
These statistics do not include the hundreds of firearms including R1 and R5 rifles stolen from SAPS stores by one SAPS Colonel Chris Prinsloo and sold to suppliers of gangs in the Western Cape between 2007 and 2015.
The author also indicates that data suggests that some 10 (ten) percent of all SAPS firearms (excluding the hundreds of firearms stolen and sold by the aforesaid Prinsloo, as well as the firearms which disappeared from the SAP 13 stores of the SAPS) have been “lost or stolen” over the last two decades.
Police Minister Bheki Cele answered to a question in Parliament in August 2019 that the SAPS had lost 9.5 million rounds of ammunition over a period of six years.
The fact that South Africa has one of the highest percentages of violent crimes in the world, including murders committed with illicit firearms, is well-known throughout the world. The national murder rate averages around 35 000 murders per year.
The abovementioned book indicates that in the Cape Flats alone (apparently the main distribution area of the firearms supplied by the aforesaid Colonel Prinsloo from 2007 to 2015) the murder rate in 2017/2018 was 70 per 100 000 people.
The increased availability of illicit firearms and ammunition, inter alia from the state institutions controlled by the present government, is the problem, and not legally possessed firearms.
The first three statements accord with the reality in South Africa and with the fundamental rights to life and security of the person enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.We will again refer to this below.
We recommend that the present wording of the three statements in the preamble remain unchanged.
2.2 The proposed substitution for the three existing statements in the preamble is
out of touch with reality and therefore irrational. It should not be inserted in the FCA.
It intends to reserve the protection of the fundamental rights of persons to life and security of the person for the State alone, in the process doing away with the common law right to self-defence. The proposed substitution reads:
“WHEREAS in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, the duty to maintain public order, to protect and secure everyone in the Republic lies with the State;”
3.OTHER IRRATIONAL LIMITATIONS.
In this respect the following proposed amendments/deletions in the Bill are unacceptable:
Section 8(7) – Verification by an accredited association or organization of the application by a member for possession of firearm regarding use, purpose, and category of firearm and the motivation or any part of the application.
Section9(5) – Changing qualifying age to apply for a competency certificate.
Section 9(9)(b) – Disqualification from possessing a firearm.
Section 15(2A) – Permission required for occasional hunting or sport shooting.
Section 16(2)(b) – Shooting only at competitions of the accredited associations required.
Section 16(5) – 6 firearm limitation for hunting and sport shooting.
Section 16(6) – Further limitations on number of firearms for sport shooting.
Section 16(7) – Further limitation on number of firearms for sport shooting.
Section 16A(5) and16A(6) – Limitation on number of firearms for professional hunter.
Section 17 – No licences to possess firearm in private collection.
Section 18 – No licence to possess ammunition in private collection.
Section 22(a) and (b) – Age restriction for shooting under supervision.
Section 27 – Lifespan of Section 15, 16 and 16A licences or permits limited to 5 years.
Section 28(1B) – Unrealistic requirement for ballistic testing.
Section 31(2) and Section 31(3) – Disposal of firearm by non-dealer only through a dealer.
Section45(3) – Prohibition of possession of reloading equipment by non-manufacturer of ammunition.
Section86(4) – Limitation on number of firearms transported simultaneously by non-firearms transporter with a permit.
Section 91(1) – Reduction of allowed number of cartridges for each firearm.
Section 91(2) and (3) – Applications to possess more cartridges.
Section 93 – Prohibition on private reloading of ammunition.
Section 120(5)(c) – Penalty for allowing child under 16 years to control a firearm.
Schedule1, Item 1B of the FCA – Licencing of muzzle -loading firearms.
Schedule1, Item 1C of the FCA – Licencing of percussion cap-and-ball firearms.
Schedule1, Item 1E of the FCA – Different time limit for licencing of actions,frames and receivers.
Dated at Johannesburg on 31 July 2021.
Signed: JJS Prinsloo SC.