The Minister was given opportunity to respond to these revelations, and he did so via his spokesman Vuyo Mhaga who explained that the Minister has no quarrel with licenced gun owners at all, but is instead concerned with the unlicenced firearms in circulation. He further explained that the Minister has a massive problem with the incidents where police and military firearms are stolen, and then later used to commit crimes.
The government wants to remove the most powerful tool with which we can defend these rights from our possession, and leave us at the mercy of those who seek to impose their will on us through the use of violence and criminality.
Simply put there are the “few” that are leading the gun rights fight in this country: it is a fight for decent and fair laws and administrative justice for all South African gun owners.
A series of penetrating questions were asked by MPs during yesterday’s Parliamentary Portfolio Committee sitting in which the SAPS proposed firearm amnesty, which did not have the required approval of Parliament, was unceremoniously thrown out.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Policing today poured ice cold water over the SAPS’ proposal for a six-month firearm amnesty starting 1 April. The proposal is not only dead in the water; it is sunk like the Battleship Bismarck.
Committee Chair Francois Beukman made it unambiguously clear that in order for the proposed amnesty to comply with the law, it requires the approval of Parliament.
Approval that was never sought.
Last week saw the announcement to cabinet of a firearms amnesty for 2017. Despite many South Africans sitting in a legal grey area of expired firearm licence cards, they were to find no proposed respite from their predicament: disappointingly, the amnesty very specifically targets the circulation of illicitly-held firearms, and the statements offered give no indication of there being any effort to solving the expired licence card debacle before the onset of a court case pertaining to the matter in April.
Regarding the article that has sent gun owners across the land into blind panic, a few matters need to be clarified.
GOSA has just short of 23 000 members at present. Although the majority of these members have joined us via FaceBook, they are not merely followers/supporters. Each of them has asked to be a member and has been vetted and accepted. Many of these members have responded to our requests for financial and other support on a regular basis. We are justifiably proud of each of these members and value them highly.
In addition to this and in order to enable us to accomplish certain other of our strategic goals we introduced a paid membership model in January of 2016.
It is well known that the ongoing struggle for firearm rights in South Africa has a rather tumultuous history. What is perhaps less well known, is that twice in the late 1800s the fight for the right to keep and bear arms involved actual bloodshed. Both upheavals were caused when the British colonial authority attempted to assert imperial control over indigenous tribes by curtailing their ability to own and use firearms. A government using gun control in order to subjugate free people is a tale as old as time, even in South Africa.
Professional jealousy and good-natured rivalry has always been a pervasive (and welcome) feature of shooting sports. Unfortunately, there is also a darker flipside to this phenomenon, and every so often it rears its ugly head and spoils the mood for everybody. What I am referring to is the “I am more dedicated than you” mindset that infects some members of the sport shooting community, and the dangerously divisive effect it has on us.