File photo: Independent Media
File photo: Independent Media

Draft firearm amendment bill ‘being dealt with internally’

By Kailene Pillay Time of article published Jan 14, 2020

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Durban - The controversial draft amendment bill to the Firearms Control Act that allegedly removes the right to own a firearm for self-defence has yet to reach Parliament.

The document, which repealed sections 13 and 14 of the legislation, covering the licensing of private firearms and competency tests, was in its proposal stages when the document was leaked last year.

According to the DA’s spokesperson on police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, the proposal had not yet come before the Parliamentary committee for discussion.

“This document was as if someone had bizarre thoughts and then put them on paper and created huge controversy around it. But there has been no sign of it since. It has not come to the police portfolio committee, and whether it will come to Parliament or not, I don’t know,” she said.

Police minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said the bill was still being dealt with internally.

“The amendment bill being referred to has not gone through to the Cabinet as yet, it’s still being dealt with internally. Public comment on the bill can only commence once the Cabinet approves that, then the bill can be published for public comment,” Themba said.

Kohler Barnard said the proposal had been made by the civilian secretariat for the Police Service Department, which acts as a technical adviser to Cele.

Repealing sections 13 and 14 of the current bill meant that self-defence would no longer be a valid reason to own a firearm.

The draft legislation would allow individuals to own a maximum of two handguns for dedicated sports shooting and a maximum of eight in total for hunting and sports shooting. A person would also need a medical certificate for applications.

When the draft bill was leaked last year, Gun Owners South Africa (Gosa) and Durban community policing forums raised concerns.

Gosa chairperson Paul Oxley said the organisation, which represents 48000 firearm owners, had perused the document and was “absolutely outraged”, saying it infringed on citizens’ right to life.

He said that taking away the means to defend oneself would see an increase in violent crimes committed against all South Africans.

EThekwini Outer North Cluster - including Durban North, uMhlanga, Verulam and Phoenix - Community Policing Forum chairperson Umesh Singh said law-abiding citizens who legally owned firearms should be allowed to protect their families from dangerous intruders in their homes.

The Mercury

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