Gun owners’ association fights over job losses

2010-07-16 13:04

The Black Gun Owners’ Association says it will sue government for

R3.2 billion to compensate for jobs lost since the Firearms Control Act came

into effect six years ago.

At a media briefing in Johannesburg today, association chairperson

Abios Khoele told journalists the legislation had resulted in 800 gun shops

closing down, 10 000 lost jobs, and 40 000 black people being refused firearms

since 2004.

He said: “This government is hell-bent on disarming black people

because they’ve made so many service delivery promises to them which they have

not fulfilled. They are scared that if blacks are armed they will turn on the

government.”

He said his organisation represented close to 700 000 people, both

black and white, in the gun industry.

This total included owners of gun shops who were losing, or had

lost, their businesses; people who had applied for gun licenses – after paying

for training and passing the competency test – but were refused them; and, those

who had applied to renew licenses but were refused.

Khoele said the lawsuit would be filed before the end of this

month.

He said the Central Firearms Registry – responsible for issuing

firearm licenses – was not giving applicants tangible reasons for refusing

them.

“In letters that they sent to applicants refusing the licenses, all

they said was they must find alternative means of protecting themselves.

“We, as the organisation, want those alternative means unpacked

because criminals are armed to the teeth out there and are attacking people on a

daily basis.”

Khoele said government was going against its own policy of

providing more employment because when the remaining 200 gun shops in the

country closed down, more people would lose their jobs.

In 2004, the refusal rate for firearm licences was 71%. In 2010, it

was 98%.

Delays were now the order of the day under the new act.

It now took three years to get a competency certificate, not three

months as it had in the past.

Contacted for comment, police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi

said the department’s doors were “wide open” for discussions.

He said: “It would be unfortunate for them to approach the courts,

so I urge them to come to us. If the alleged job losses occurred because of the

legislation of firearms, that needs to be supported with evidence.”


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