Black gun owners to sue govt

Johannesburg - The Black Gun Owners Association on Friday said it will sue the government for R3.2bn for compensation over lost jobs since the new Firearms Control Act came into effect in 2004.

A total of 800 gun shops closed down, 10 000 people lost jobs, and over 40 000 blacks were refused firearm licences between 2004 and 2010, the association's chairperson Abios Khoele told a press briefing in Johannesburg.

"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."

The organisation represented close to 700 000 people, black and white, in the gun industry, he claimed. This figure included owners of gunshops who were losing business, former owners who were liquidated, people who applied for gun licenses after paying for the training and who passed the competency test, but were refused licenses, and those who applied to renew licenses but were refused.

The lawsuit would be filed before the end of July.

Khoele said the central firearms registrar - responsible for issuing firearm licenses - was not giving applicants tangible reasons for the refusals.

"In letters that they sent to applicants refusing the licenses, all they said is that they must find alternative means of protecting themselves. We, as the organisation, we want those alternative means unpacked because criminals are armed to the teeth out there and are attacking people on a daily basis."
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