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Time is running out for South Africans to take a stand against the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, which, if implemented, will see notable changes in laws governing a person’s use of a firearm.
One of the most concerning changes will be that no firearm will be issued for self-defence purposes while jointly providing the deletion of provisions permitting a private collector to collect and possess firearms and ammunition in a private collection.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is now calling on the public to sign the party’s online petition and make formal written objections against the Firearms Control Amendment Bill before the deadline for public comments, which is 31 July 2021.
The petition has already gained significant traction with more than 83 000 signatures since the petition launched in May 2021, as stated by the political party. DA Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield says, “The deadline for public submissions is 31 July 2021 and we urge those who have not yet signed the DA’s petition to do so. We also urge South Africans to submit their objections to this disastrous piece of legislation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the DA at email@example.com.”
Whitfield emphasises that the DA does not support the Firearms Control Amendment Bill as it seeks to remove self-defence as a valid reason to possess a firearm in South Africa. According to Whitfield, the Bill seeks to disarm law-abiding citizens, forcing them to rely on a police service that is understaffed, under-resourced, and has failed to combat crime. “The recent violent unrest and looting in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng demonstrated the police’s inability to effectively deal with crime. Communities were left to fend for themselves in order to protect their properties with little or no assistance from police or law enforcement. Removing self-defence as a reason to own a gun following this unprecedented unrest is not only reckless, but it also puts many innocent civilians at the mercy of criminals.”
ActionSA has also voiced its objections against the proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act. The political party states that the under-resourcing, poor management, and politicisation of the SAPS by the ANC has resulted in a police force that cannot protect residents from criminals. In a statement, ActionSA pointed out, “Our people have no choice but to defend themselves. This Bill shows that the ANC is out of touch with the realities of everyday South Africans.”
Furthermore, ActionSA also highlighted that criminals would not have their illegal guns taken away, as the Bill focuses on law-abiding citizens and not the criminal element. “In a country where criminal activity and violent crime is of the highest in the world, citizens deserve the right to protect themselves and their families.“
In a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the SA Gunowners’ Association (SAGA), Damian Enslin reflected on the recent civil unrest, which saw widespread destruction and carnage. When looking at the chaos and how the community rallied together, Enslin said, “The South African Police Service, which has the Constitutional duty to protect the country and the citizens, appears to have found themselves incapable of dealing with the vast numbers of looters and criminals and have found themselves overstretched, under-provisioned and totally overwhelmed through lack of training and resources.”
In his letter to the president, Enslin reminded Ramaphosa that he reportedly welcomed “ordinary citizens defending their areas and assets.”
“In SAGA’s view, had it not been for such law-abiding and ordinary citizens defending the lives and property of others, using the very firearms that the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2021 seeks to take away, the situation would have been very different.”
Enslin further noted, “An armed and prepared citizenry is not a threat to our democracy, but a guarantee against those who would wish to overthrow a democratically elected government by force and mayhem. It is clear that firearms do protect the law-abiding citizens of South Africa and that even those who do not own firearms, support those who do, as those who do not own firearms feel safer knowing that there are armed law-abiding citizens amongst them.”
With these compelling arguments in mind, be sure to make your voice heard before 31 July 2021, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, stating why the Bill should not be passed and be sure to sign the online DA petition at https://petitions.da.org.za/p/stopgunbill
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