Public pressure saw controversial firearms bill held back


A Parliamentary decision to hold back the contentious Firearms Control Amendment (FCA) Act has been hailed as a “triumph for the effectiveness of public pressure”.

This reaction from Gabriel Crouse of the Institute for Race Relations joins similar response from political parties, at least one retailer and outspoken civil rights grouping, AfriForum.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police decided to hold back the controversial Firearms Control Amendment Bill which, among others, seeks to make gun ownership for self-defence illegal. Committee chair Tina JoematPettersson wants the bill held back for further consideration rather than prioritised.

“Pressure works. Tens of thousands of South Africans made their opinions known and fact-based arguments were put on Minister Bheki Cele’s table in a way that could not be ignored, which is why the drive to disarm people who want to defend themselves has been halted,” Crouse said.

This opinion was echoed by Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald. He cited “the steady stream of objections in the form of petitions and submissions” as having an impact on “unilateral and draconian decisions by government”.

Groenewald maintains the FCA is an absurd piece of legislation – “a poorly disguised attempt to disarm the public”.

“In a country where the crime rate is skyrocketing, imposing such a regulation will leave South Africans vulnerable as it will deny them their right to protect themselves, their loved ones and property against criminals.”

Over 20 000 South Africans petitioned against the FCA Bill through the IRR portal. The petition was sent to the Civilian Police Secretariat, the body responsible for tabling the FCA Bill, “which now seems to be at a loss as to how to move the Bill forward in the face of public pressure” Crouse said.