Update on South Africa Proposed Firearm Act Amendments
South Africa –-(Ammoland.com)- The first draft of the proposed “Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2011” was posted on SAGA’s website on 10th April 2011.
This document was circulated to the organized firearms fraternity shortly in advance of meetings since held (and still to be held) between the Secretary of Police, Ms Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane, together with her legal and police advisors and separate batches of representatives of firearm users and their legal advisors.
The first two such meetings have been held and the participants seem to agree that, although differences remain (some strong, some relatively unimportant), constructive and amicable progress is being made – within the boundaries set by the “Memorandum on the Objects of the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2011” at the end of the Amendment Bill.
In plain words, this means that the full Act and its Regulations and management are not open for discussion at present. Regard this 2011 Amendment Bill as an interim measure to help clear up “difficulties” with “cap and ball revolvers”, validity of competency certificates (in terms of time), etc, and is designed mainly to help the SAPS comply with the Minister’s instructions to clear the administrative backlogs in the issuing of licences and competency certificates and start providing efficient service. And, maybe, just maybe, provide the long-awaited “Policy Guidelines” which could help would-be firearm owners prepare “acceptable” motivations.
You must note however that neither the changes nor the original are set in stone. ‘Concessions granted’ (to common sense) may be withdrawn, for example, when someone in power detects an unintended consequence or for almost any other reason. The situation is completely fluid and much territory has to be covered before a (semi-final) draft Bill goes to Parliament and then becomes available for public comment.
The only thing you can be sure of is that the associations are being involved in the process and are doing their best to look after your interests. The government, although happy to listen to us, remains firmly in the saddle and may reject proposals that we see as practical common sense. We will continue to point out errors, injustices, etc and make practical proposals, but, when the Bill finally (but quite soon) gets its ’final’ form for Parliament to consider, we need every one of you to be ready to bend ear and make noises about such impracticalities/injustices which remain in the Bill.
We expect further drafts of the Amendment Bill as the process unfolds and will keep your as up-to-date as practically possible. At this stage however we must express our thanks to those in the firearms fraternity who have been doing the work/negotiating/consulting as well as the Secretary for Police and her team for showing some understanding of our problems and acceptance of our bona fides as law-abiding citizens.SA Gunowners’ Association (SAGA)
PO Box 35203
4065 Tel 031-562-9951
The South African Gunowners’ Association (SAGA) is a non-profit, non-discriminatory organization, whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of all people who embrace the principles of safe and responsible ownership and usage of firearms for sport, recreation, hunting and self-defence. Visit: www.saga.org.za
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