Cape Town - Gun owners have welcomed the extension on the deadline to make submissions on the Firearms Amendment Bill, granted by Police Minister Bheki Cele.
The deadline of the bill, which has courted some controversy around amendments, has been extended to August 2. Gun Law expert lawyer Martin Hood said they had to go to court to get an extension for the bill.
Gun Owners SA (Gosa) spokesperson Paul Oxley said it was the first of what would doubtless be several extensions. He said the bill was badly drafted that “more turds just kept floating to the surface of the swimming pool”.
An organisation which helps women license firearms for self-defence, Girls On Fire, spokesperson Tshepi Mmekwa said the extension was all well and good, if they actually read the submission.
"They are not even reading them, they are deleting them," Mmekwa.
City Guns general manager Alan Martheze said the extension of the deadline was forced only through legal action, when it was revealed that the Civilian Secretariat of the police had not consulted evenly and, rather, only with anti-gun organisation Gun Free SA (GFSA).
"Further, it was revealed that a study by the University of the Witwatersrand, commissioned by the Secretariat, pointed towards poor policing being the root cause for an increase in violent crime, and not civilian firearm ownership – which the report found to be insignificantly small,“ he said.
GFSA director Adèle Kirsten welcomed the extension, and said the bill has substantial amendments, all of which were aimed at reducing the number of guns in use in the country.
"This requires time to engage, especially, when working with communities directly affected by gun violence," said Kirsten.
She said, in their experience, people were keen to discuss the bill and had comments to make.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the extension represented a further opportunity for citizens to actively participate in the legislative process.
Fritz said many citizens have a lot to say.
"I want to encourage citizens to say it where it counts. Don’t just complain about it to your friends and family, make your voice count. Have your say where it counts," said Fritz.