With President Cyril Ramaphosa seemingly having left the decision over self-defence constituting a valid reason to own a firearm to South Africa’s courts, gun-owners and opponents of the controversial Firearms Control Amendment Bill have once again called for the outright scrapping of the proposed legislation.
The Democratic Alliance said on Sunday 6 June that the “draconian” legislation only serves to take away South African’s “constitutionally enshrined rights to protect themselves and their families”, with their petition to scrap the Firearms Control Bill having already garnered 65 000 signatures.
‘Draconian gun laws must be scrapped’ – DA
Andrew Whitfield, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Police, said that National Police Minister Bheki Cele, together with the ANC government, need to stop hiding behind the courts and make their position on the proposed legislation clear.
Whitfield said that Ramaphosa’s comments while addressing Parliament on Thursday – in which he said that it is his belief that self defence is a reasonable justification for gun ownership – demonstrates “a clear lack of confidence by the President in the gun bill”.
“The DA is of the view that the government cannot hide behind the courts. The ANC must make their views on the matter known so that the public can hold them to account for attempting to take away their constitutionally enshrined rights to protect themselves and their families,” said Whitfield.
“As the DA we have made it clear that we stand opposed to the ban on firearm ownership for self-defence by civilians. With South Africa’s high crime rate, this draconian piece of legislation emboldens criminals, while taking away the last line of defence for law-abiding citizens.”
Opposition to Firearms Control Bill grows
Whitfield said that the DA’s petition against the Firearms Control Amendment Bill is gaining significant momentum with more than 65 000 South Africans who have already added their signatures to the motion against the Firearms Bill.
“These are ordinary South Africans who along with the DA stand in strong opposition to the Bill. They are law-abiding citizens who refuse to be disarmed, only to be forced to rely on an understaffed and under-resourced police force that has been failing to fight crime,” he said.
“Disarming law-abiding citizens in the current crime-ridden environment is reckless, ill-advised and places many innocent civilians at the mercy of criminals.”