‘A train smash’ – Proposed change to Firearms Act leaves honest citizens worried

On Friday night, government released the draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill. If it is signed into law, it could bar South African citizens from obtaining a gun licence for self-defence and hunting.

A spent shell leaves a pistol fired by a woman as she takes part in training organised by the women empowerment group Girls on Fire, in Midrand, on 7 February 2021. Picture: MARCO LONGARI/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - There are concerns on Monday that a proposed change to the Firearms Control Act will have a devastating impact on honest citizens and women trying to protect themselves against criminals and gender-based violence.

On Friday night, government released the draft Firearms Control Amendment Bill. If it is signed into law, it could bar South African citizens from obtaining a gun licence for self-defence and hunting.

“How many more women need to be slaughtered at the hands of criminals? How many more women have to die without being able to defend themself?” Tshepi Mmekwa is with Girls on Fire, she said with gender-based violence at its highest and police in a state of crisis failing to keep women safe, this proposed amendment to the Firearms Control Act could be fatal.

“It will be public knowledge that they can’t defend themselves.”

Meanwhile, Gun Owners SA's Paul Oxley was also extremely worried about the move to disarm ordinary citizens.

“It’s a train smash; they haven’t explained how they’re going to take guns away from bad people, but they want to take the guns away from the good people.”

The public will have until July to submit their comments in writing to government.

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