Gun Free South Africa has lauded the proposed amendments to the country’s firearms legislation which bans the licensing of handguns for use for self-defence.

The move by government to change the law has been met with criticism from some quarters.

South Africans will not be able to apply for a gun licence on the basis that they need a firearm for self-defence, under the new legislation.

Gun Free South Africa says the provisions align South Africa with legal obligations and global norms are based on scientific evidence.

Gun Free South Africa’s Adèle Kirsten says they support the proposed amendments.

“Gun Free SA welcomes the amendment and for a number of reasons because the Bill really seeks to do a number of things. I think one of the underlying principles is to reduce the rates of death and gun violence in our country.”

“It is also about closing loopholes where the current Act has been abused by gun owners. I think it is over the last 20 years of implementing the existing Act and a number of loopholes have been observed. It is really an attempt to shut down those loopholes,” adds Kirsten.

Dr Guy Lamb, a Criminologist and expert in crime and violence speaks about the Firearms Control Amendment Bill: 

‘Biggest contributor to murder’

Police Minister Bheki Cele says firearms remain the biggest contributor to murder in South Africa.

One mechanism the SAPS uses to clamp down on guns circulating in society is the firearms amnesty.

Over the past two years, the amnesty period saw nearly 150 000 firearms surrendered. But, SAPS says more needs to be done.

Therefore, one of the clauses in the Amendment Bill, reads, “to provide that no firearm licences be issued for self-defence purposes”.

Government says the proposed law will help reduce crime:

Opposition to the bill

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says, so far 50 000 people have signed its petition against the proposed Firearms Control Amendment Bill.

The draft Bill would – if it were to become law – prohibit the awarding of firearm licenses for self-defence purposes.

It would also restrict the number of firearms individuals can own for sport and hunting.

The DA says it strongly opposes the Bill and has called for more people to sign its petition.