Petitions against amending Firearms Act gain momentum

Two weeks ago, the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service published a call for public comment on the bill.

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CAPE TOWN - Petitions against the Firearms Control Amendment Bill are gaining momentum as thousands of South Africans are making their voices heard.

Two weeks ago, the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service published a call for public comment on the bill.

Among others, it seeks to remove self-defence as a reason to own a gun. The Firearms Control Amendment Bill 2021 replaces the last bill that was submitted to Cabinet in February 2015.

Two weeks since the bill was released for comment, people have been responding to petitions and public participation processes.

The police ministry has received over 85,000 public submissions on the bill.

The Democratic Alliance launched a petition against the bill and already has 65,000 signatures. Action Society and DearSA have public participation processes also running.

Meanwhile, Gun Free South Africa has welcomed the proposed amendments stating clearly that owning a firearm is a privilege, not a right.

The organisation’s Adele Kirsten on Monday said: “A gun doesn’t make you safer; it puts you more at risk. There is no principle that says you have the right to use a gun to protect yourself.”

This Cape Town man has owned a firearm for four years.

In 2016, suspects broke into his family home armed with firearms and tied them up. For him, it was traumatic; something he said he never wants to experience again.

“I would rather have a firearm and not need it than not have the firearm and need it.”

The public has until 4 July to comment on the bill.

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