The Lunacy of the FCA Amendment

It is that time of year and season again where firearms and something, if not everything, associated with them, gets pulled through the wringer.

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FCA Firearm Gun Control firearms summit

It is that time of year and season again where firearms and something, if not everything, associated with them, gets pulled through the wringer. This time the government is the one who kicked the hornets nest and has incredibly managed to anger elements of its own party, the opposition, all of the biggest entities in civil society, and an entire industry that contributes in excess of R15 billion to the economy (and that is just the hunters, according to Farmers Weekly).

The government has for some bizarre reason made the decision to cut the budget for the South African Police Service (SAPS) by R2.5 billion, yet insultingly increase the VIP protection budget, and then incredibly still manages to find the gall to tell the common plebeian denizen that they are prohibited from taking the necessary measures to protect themselves by acquiring a firearm for self-defence. South Africa (at last I checked) ranked seven in the world for the worst homicide rate per 100,000. However, there are many more provisions and flaws in the bill that are not getting the attention they deserve.

While the self-defence angle has which understandably has become the clarion call to arms for so many (figuratively of course), we are also told that reloading ammunition (essentially homemaking ammunition with a special press) will be criminalised. Reloading is a cheaper way of feeding the most expensive aspect of firearm ownership and considering that dedicated sport shooters can go through over a thousand rounds in a single practice session if they are dedicated enough, this stands to kill the sporting discipline.

Of course, the amendments plan to kill it in any event by introducing ammunition limits of a maximum of 100 rounds, which is barely equivalent to ten minutes of intense practice. No ammunition (or not enough), equals insufficient practice time, equals no discipline left to compete in. Irrespective, abolishing reloading also means ammunition has to be bought brand new, making the discipline prohibitively expensive, and directly affects hunters in a similar way. Considering how the ammunition market will be affected, those measly 100 rounds will cost a kidney on the black market.

Firearm limits are also set to be introduced, which would also kill the sporting industry by itself. Depending on how many disciplines a shooter engages in, they can potentially require an unlimited amount of firearms, which is why the current law has no numerical limit for dedicated status individuals. Another issue is that if someone is both a sport shooter and a hunter, they will have an assortment of firearms for two entirely different purposes. Firearms are all different, even if they all do the same thing in the end: push a projectile through a tube using compressed gases.

The government also seems to have strangely developed a fear of a 1776 revolution and gone after ‘muzzle loaders’ (think a flintlock pistol or musket). There is no conceivable reason why these are now set to be defined as a firearm, because I have yet to hear of a jewelry store robbery using technology from over 200 years ago. Further, they must now be ‘marked’ or have a serial number affixed to them.

Collectors are also completely deleted, therefore goodbye to all the heritage firearms in South Africa, of which we possess a sizeable portion of heritage firearms globally. Further, unless you have had your own license to possess a firearm for at least three years, you are to be prohibited from allowing someone else to handle your firearm even while under your direct supervision. Other changes also make it illegal for anyone under 16 years of age to use a firearm under any circumstances.

Ballistic testing is to also be made mandatory whenever a firearm is sold, or its license renewed, or whenever the Minister feels like it. Currently, ballistic testing can take years, and this is without subjecting all few million firearms to such testing every five years, because licenses are to now be universally valid for a five-year period. As if this insanity is not enough, even flintlock muskets must also be ballistically tested, because the amendment says “every firearm”, of which muzzle loaders are now included in the definition.

Better comedy does not write itself, especially when paired with the new rule that nobody is allowed to move their firearm from point A to point B if they wish to move more than three firearms at the same time, unless they also have a transportation permit.

Having considered the sheer imbecilic nature of this bill, you would think that surely the government conducted some research and did some consultations. However, you would be wrong. Not a single firearm owning, or representative body or entity, was consulted.

Moreover, the Minister clearly has no idea what he is talking about when he says that there somehow was research and consultation, which leads me to reasonably believe he is ramming through an agenda, or is merely reading someone else’s notes telling him what to say. One does not simply propose a bill that will decimate a multi-billion rand industry, and the multi-billion rand supporting industries, and somehow also manage to say in good faith that they did their research.

A socio-economic impact assessment report was made available with the draft amendment, but it does not have a single reference for any of the bald and sweeping assertions, assumptions, presumptions, and allegations contained within it. Where there is some kind of reference, it is so vague and obscure so as to be useless for any practical purposes. It is a disgrace that it somehow justifies the proposed amendments to the public.

Thousands more will be added to the unemployment pandemic, which equates to thousands more in poverty, and resulting in greater crime (ironically the opposite of what the amendment is supposed to achieve). Rather than fix even a single issue, the Minister is proposing to exacerbate a few other existing ones, and create a new one by removing the most successful tool a person can use to defend themselves.

It truly boggles the mind how such a shortsighted bill could even be suggested. Regardless, the Minister should get a prize for managing to get elements of the ANC into the same boat that Afriforum and the Vryheids Front Plus are also in. That is how angry people are. Firearm ownership is not a racial thing in South Africa, contrary to what some people would like us to think, and we know our history and that of the world.

Thus far, South Africans have submitted over 65,000 comments, and the email address set up to receive comments is full. If you would like to comment, you must therefore use Dear South Africa (link at end of this article) who submit your comment in your name, send a copy to you, and keep one for themselves, thus establishing a verifiable record of submission.

To end off, I realised something last night: the last time a government in South Africa wanted to strictly regulate muskets, we got what the history books called the War of the Gun, in which the AmaHlubi tribe complied and got obliterated when the British came for them. The Basuto however did not comply, fought a war, nearly bankrupted the Cape Colony, got reparations, and maintained their dignity. Further down the line we got apartheid.

The people of this country fought, bled, and died for their and our freedom. We must keep it.

We are citizens. Not subjects.

It is time the government treated us as such.

Go to Dear South Africa and have your say on the Firearms Control Act amendment bill at: https://dearsouthafrica.co.za/firearm-control-2021/

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