The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters) has formally submitted their comment on the controversial Draft Firearms Amendment Bill published during May 2021. The amendments proposed in the bill came under harsh criticism from various industry stakeholders due to far-reaching consequences that e.g., could deny South Africans the right to own a firearm for self-defence or to reload ammunition
According to CEO of SA Hunters, Fred Camphor, there are numerous other proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act that are deemed impractical and unfair. “Pertinent to our members are the imposed restriction of firearm licences in terms of section 16 which limits dedicated hunters and sport shooters to a maximum of six legal firearms as well as the criminalising of those firearm owners who reload ammunition,” he said.
The current legislation is already cumbersome and complex, resulting in an immense administrative burden on the SAPS to effectively ensure compliance. “It is abundantly clear that the proposed Amendment Bill provides for even more control and subsequently becomes even more complex, cumbersome, and difficult to implement. From the proposed changes it is clear that from the onset this piece of draft legislation was developed to change the Act from enabling to limiting.”
Key amendments of concern to SA Hunters include:
- removing the right to own a firearm for self-defence
- limiting the number of firearms and ammunition that dedicated hunters and sport shooters may own in terms of Section 16
- expanding and redefining ballistic sampling practices that are unfeasible and impractical
- changing competency compliance for firearm ownership
- prohibiting the reloading of ammunition by firearm owners for their own use
- removing the provision for private collectors
Parallel to the submission of our formal comment, the Association has consulted with a legal team regarding legal action on this proposed legislation, should legal recourse be necessary. “We are keeping a close eye on the situation and will - as in 2009 - continue to protect our members' rights as legal firearm owners,” concluded Camphor.
Background on SA Hunters
The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association was established in 1949 and is the oldest and also biggest accredited hunting and sport shooting association in RSA. Commonly known as SA Hunters, it has more than 44 000 members with 81 functional branches across RSA. SA Hunters was also the first hunting association accredited by SAPS as a hunting association in terms of the current Firearms Control Act. SA Hunters is also accredited with the SAPS as a sport shooting organisation and a professional hunting association in terms of this Act.