Nhleko stands firm on new draft firearms bill

The bill was discussed at the National Firearms Summit in Parliament on Wednesday.

FILE: The Firearms Control Amendment Bill was discussed at the National Firearms Summit in Parliament on Wednesday. Picture:sxc.hu

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Wednesday said the Firearms Control Amendment Bill is a "critical piece of legislation" that seeks to improve gun licencing, accountability and promote responsible gun use.

Nhleko was speaking at a National Firearms Summit in Parliament.

The draft bill, recently approved by Cabinet, is out for public comment.

It seeks to tighten gun ownership legislation and the bill requires all firearms to have microdots.

Nhleko says the microdot system will assist in identifying a firearm even if the serial number had been filed off.

"This will be phased in through state entities, security companies to individuals."

But the Sport Shooting Forum's Paul Oxley is not convinced that this is a useful system.

"It's a lot harder to remove an etched or engraved in the metal serial number than what it is to take off a microdot. So you have already got a technology that works. As I say, somebody has an uncle in the microdot business."

The bill also prescribes a minimum sentence in instances of serious abuse of a firearm.