Firearms Control Amendment Bill is ‘as dead as the proverbial dodo’, says panel

21 July 2021 - 07:37 By Nomahlubi Sonjica
Experts are calling for the Firearms Control Amendment Bill to be scrapped.
Experts are calling for the Firearms Control Amendment Bill to be scrapped.
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Lobbyists say there are “solid” grounds to argue that the Firearms Control Amendment Bill which, among others, seeks to remove self-defence as a reason to own a gun, is flawed and needs to be done away with.

“We have all the good, solid, reasonable, logical, factual arguments in our favour that say this piece of legislation is wrong and should be tossed out,” said Martin Hood, a legal expert and gun collector.

Hood was among panellists who discussed the bill during a virtual discussion on Tuesday.

He said the bill was not based on rationality or facts, and questioned government’s ability to implement legislation.

“The events of the past week or so [rioting and looting]highlight their lack of control over certain elements in society.”

Terence Corrigan, project manager at the Institute of Race Relations, said: “If we are not following a strong basis of evidence, not only are we wasting time and resources producing useless legislation, we also divert ourselves from issues to which our efforts would better be directed.”

He said it was important to ask whether the law was about making SA safe or about getting rid of guns.

The bill, which also prohibits private firearm collections, sought to shift the attention from police visibility in communities to guns, Corrigan said.

“The issue of gun collecting is important in preserving cultural heritage. The national heritage resources act list guns as part of SA’s heritage,” he said, adding that collectors performed a valuable service in society.

“These [guns] are objects of scholarly interest. How does the bill justify the ban on gun collections? I shudder for the day perception is used to justify things.”

Paul Hoffman from the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa said if a piece of legislation did not measure up to the standards of the constitution, it would be vulnerable to attack for its inconsistency with the constitution.

“I’m one of those who falls into the group that says after last week, this bill is as dead as the proverbial dodo,” he said.