SAPS: Gun owners 'jumping the gun', fears over threat to right to self-defence 'unwarranted'

2018-10-18 18:07


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The South African Police Service (SAPS) has called for calm over a draft bill on gun licences which proposes taking away self-defence as a reason to own a gun.

On Thursday, Gun Owners South Africa (GOSA) said the draft amendment bill to the Firearms Control Act was "released" on Wednesday. Gosa said it was "outraged" at what the amendment bill contained.  

In a statement, GOSA said the draft legislation will take away self-defence as a valid reason for owning a gun, "infringing on every South Africans' right to life".

The bill also proposes other changes to existing legislation, including requiring people who apply for gun licences to supply a medical certificate, "which means a breach on the constitutional right of citizens to the right to privacy", GOSA said.

It also said the bill will establish a ballistics database, "knowing full well that ballistic testing has proven to be ineffective".

This shows that the police are "not serious about the lives of citizens", GOSA said.

"The major concern we have is the right to life of law-abiding citizens. Crime is escalating at an alarming rate, whereby the criminals perpetrating these crimes are becoming increasingly violent. Taking away a means to effectively defend oneself will see to an increase in violent crimes committed against all South Africans, this cannot be allowed to happen," the organisation said.

However, national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo emphasised that the bill was just a draft and that it was at the very beginning of the parliamentary process.

'GOSA is jumping the gun'

Naidoo said reactions to the bill hadn't even been received yet. "GOSA is jumping the gun," he said.

He added that the police could not comment on anything else related to the bill because the police are still in court with GOSA.

In July, GOSA obtained an interdict against SAPS confiscating guns because the gun licences have expired which must still be made final.

Right wing political party Front National also condemned the proposed amendments, saying the pricess creates the impression that the government wants to take away "law-abiding citizens' right to self-protection".

Francois Beukman, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police in Parliament, was not available for comment on Thursday. But in an interview with The Citizen, he also said the bill was just a draft.

He reportedly said gun owners should wait until Cabinet had formally published the amendment bill for comment before reacting.

Read more on:    saps  |  guns

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