Durban - A new draft bill, which states that self-defence and the protection of property or another person are not valid reasons to own a gun, has left South African gun-owners fuming.
If formalised, the bill could make it almost impossible for South Africans to own a gun.

Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA member of the parliamentary police portfolio committee, described the proposed bill as draconian.

“The document was leaked from the offices of the police civilian secretariat. Now they have no option but to face public condemnation of the proposed bill.

“My sources have confirmed it is a legitimate document. It does cut out the self-defence clause. It also drastically reduces the number of firearms a dedicated sport shooter or hunter may possess. The proposed bill displays extreme ignorance of either of the above sports and even demands a medical certificate for applicants,” she claimed.

She said the proposed bill was still in the draft stages and had not come before cabinet.

Kohler Barnard added that she did not expect the draft bill to come before the Police Portfolio Committee any time soon.

“Considering the mass public outrage, hopefully it will be swept under the same carpet the current government hides all its crackpot legislation and failed ideas.”

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said South Africans should neither be intrigued nor concerned about the circulating draft bill.

“Those who leaked this draft document have created panic and behaved irresponsibly. It is a draft document and people need to keep that in mind. No law is passed without proper consultations.

“Also, if something is leaked, there must be an agenda behind it. The custodian of this document will have to alert us on how to proceed with regard to this matter,” said Naidoo.

Director of the Gun-Free SA, Adele Kirsten said most licensed firearm owners in South Africa owned a handgun for self-defence.

However, reports show that 25 guns are lost or stolen from civilians daily.

“This shows the rate at which legal guns are being leaked into the illegal market and used to commit crimes.

“Given this data, our organisation would recommend amendments to the Firearms Act.

“It should look at ways to restrict access to handguns, limit the number of firearms owned by one person and regulate more tightly the purpose for owning a firearm,” she said.

POST