The proposed amendment to the Firearms Control Act (FCA) must be rejected in full by South Africans. The proposed legislation does not only fail to address the reality of South Africa’s crime problem and its possible solutions, but fundamentally violates our essential freedoms as individuals to meaningfully protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our property.
The amendment aims to implement the following:
- Deleting licencing of firearms for self-defence.
- Reducing licence periods to five years.
- Reducing the number of allowed licences.
- Limiting ammunition per licence.
- Banning the reloading of ammunition.
- Restrictions on muzzle loaders.
These changes come alongside a decision to cut the budget of the police by R2.5 billion and raise the budget for VIP protection.
Every aspect of this bill further damages a South African’s ability to defend themselves, their family and their property, as well as their freedom to own and use property as they see fit.
Firearm ownership is a core of a free society, allowing citizens to not only defend themselves from criminals where police will never be sufficient, but also to become truly sovereign individuals, who can deal with an armed authoritarian regime (if it comes to that) as an equal, rather than as a subject.
In a country like South Africa, with an average of 58 murders per a day, rampant gangsterism, and a police force unable to deal with even the pettiest crime, removing the first and last line of defence for most South Africans will be disastrous. That this bill comes at a time when the police itself are receiving budget cuts and while the politicians continue to increase the budgets for their armed bodyguards, is indictive of extreme malice on the part of government.
An attempt to disarm a citizenry, especially while maintaining an armed guard, is an elitist and arrogant play for power. Our politicians have proven that they do not care about the people. They only care about control and petty power.
Disarmament may have even more sinister reasons, however, as expropriation without compensation and the nationalisation of private property in South Africa looms ever closer. Stripping guns away from a population always precedes greater levels of authoritarianism and control. Especially in South Africa, where the last mass gun grab left the local African population defenceless against white settlers and eventually the Apartheid regime.
Gun rights are essential for human freedom and safety, and this bill must be considered as one of the most dangerous attacks on freedom in South Africa.
The right to self-defence and the need to protect oneself and one’s family is an essential right and function of humanity. The police are woefully underfunded, undertrained, and underequipped to protect everyone. Even if we did live in a country with an able police force, we would still need firearms to protect ourselves. When seconds count, the police are an hour away. Until such a time that a more powerful and effective weapon is invented, firearms will always be the necessary first and last line of defence against violent criminals.
Blocking people from owning a firearm for self-defence is completely unreasonable and fundamentally illogical.
Reduction of Licence Periods to Five Years
This arbitrary set of time just adds more hurdles to an already overwhelmed bureaucratic nightmare. The government already struggles to process licences. They cannot sustain having to process renewed licences every five years.
This is also an arbitrarily short timeframe. If someone qualifies for a firearm, they have qualified. Renewals are unnecessary at the best of times. And this short period is debilitating. After acquiring a licence, a person should be presumed fit and proper to have a firearm until a new set of facts arise that rebuts that presumption.
Reducing Number of Allowed Licences
If someone is allowed to own a gun, they should be allowed to own as many as they want. They have proven themselves a responsible gun owner and restricting their right to own property is arbitrary and immoral.
It is already a legal nightmare to obtain a single firearm. Stopping people from getting more will destroy many essential aspects of our culture and society. Collectors will no longer be able to retain their collections and will have to hand over works of mechanical art to a police force that will most likely scrap or sell them to criminals.
And sports shooting will be debilitated. Sports shooting, a necessary component of maintaining competency and discipline as a responsible gun owner, will be severely limited to the point of irrelevancy if the guns a single owner can practice with is limited.
Limiting Ammunition per License
The bill proposes to set a maximum of 100 rounds. This pitifully small number is barely enough to train with for a single firearm and will lead to a huge drop in the training and discipline needed to maintain the skills needed to wield a firearm.
It is also rich coming from government that they would like to limit the amount of ammunition civilians can own, when they can’t stop the police from losing an unfathomable amount of ammunition.
Guns are useless without ammo. There shouldn’t be a limit, and if there is to be one, it should be high enough to allow for intense training and extra for defence.
Unlawful to Reload Ammunition
To add to the limiting of ammunition, the bill proposes to ban the reloading of one’s own ammunition. This is an essential practice for those who train often and do sports shooting, as ammunition is astronomically expensive and this helps lighten the financial burden.
To reload ammunition, one must have qualified as a legal gun owner already. Banning this essential practice is just further arbitrariness.
Restrictions on Muzzle-Loaders
The bill proposes to classify muzzle-loaders in the same class as firearms, effectively making antiques and collectibles as stringently regulated as a modern firearm.
Muskets are no longer a threat. You could make a gun using a car battery and a YouTube video that would be more effective than a muzzle-loader. There’s a reason they aren’t used anymore.
Yet, the government wants to destroy history and antiques by restricting their ownership further.
The FCA Amendment Bill will only be crushed if we put in the work. As of writing this, over 81,000 participants have submitted responses through the Dear South Africa platform. The Rational Standard asks that its readers join them! There are no limits to how many responses one may submit. Write as many as you can.
Further, make sure you participate in protests against the bill. There is already a protest planned for 1 July 2021 outside Parliament in Cape Town, from 12:00 to 15:00. Hopefully, we will see you there!
Most of all, keep up the pressure. We can crush this bill and guarantee our freedom. We just need to stay eternally vigilant, active, and engaged.
Nicholas Woode-Smith is the managing editor of the Rational Standard and has written this statement on behalf of the Rational Standard website and editorial board.