The Helen Suzman Foundation has made submissions to the Firearms Committee on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill, 2021 that seeks to amend the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000

In its submission, the HSF acknowledged the importance of achieving the objectives the Bill seeks to achieve and made the following submissions:

The Bill seeks to amend the objective of the Firearms Control Act (FCA) 'to restrict access to firearms by civilians and to comply with regional and international on firearms regulations'. The HSF submitted that (a) this objective can be achieved by less restrictive means, and (b) the purpose of the Bill must accordingly be amended to include the 'protection of rights contained in the Bill of Rights'. 

The HSF opposes the repeal of section 13 and 14 of the FCA on the basis of three arguments: 

  1. the repeal will not resolve the social ills advanced by the reasons for the repeal; instead a strict test for obtaining a license of firearms on application and renewal would ensure that firearms are in the right hands. 
  2. the proliferation of firearms occurs in different contexts, like in the hands of police officials, evidence lockers and external criminals and removing the ground of private defence as a reason to own a firearm will not achieve this objective. 
  3. that while owning a firearm is not a right, there are constitutional rights to consider like the interconnection between the constitutional right to life and the common law right to private defence and its ancillary right to security of the person. 

Finally, the HSF submitted that there is a need for improved implementation of legislation to achieve optimal realisation of the objectives the Bill seeks the achieve, i.e. (a) eliminating the illegal proliferation of firearms, (b) restricting access to firearms by civilians.

The submission can be found here.

Mihloti Basil Sherinda 

Anton van Dalsen