The ideology of the Firearms Control legislation

3.13 A remarkable feature of the Bill is the emphasis in the Preamble on the constitutional rights to life and personal security. The Preamble opens with four observations, viz

The core of the Preamble is (1) the high levels of crime (2) the contribution thereto of the increased availability and abuse of firearms and (3) the State’s duty to respect, protect and promote the right to life and personal security. This is indeed the sole motivation advanced for the proposed legislation.

3.14 It is ironic that the proposers (sic) of the legislation have decided to pin their colours to the mast of the rights to life and personal security and the State’s constitutional duty to protect and promote it. We all know that the State cannot possibly protect all of us against every violent attack and the Bill is making it extremely difficult for us to do so ourselves.

Extract: The Firearms Control Bill, Commentary by The South African Gun Owners Association (SAGA)

[Crimefree comment] Nor has the state despite being asked to produce evidence of the validity of the preamble, produced any evidence that validates the preamble. Since no other country, organisation or person has been able to prove a causal relationship between firearms and crime, point four of the preamble is an outright lie.

In practice, the efficiency of gun control seems to be coupled with social acceptance. This basis has suffered from an ever faster succession of ever more restrictions, in most cases enacted under severe media pressure. Very often it is obvious that a new provision is far off the mark of a real problem, for instance when neglect in administrating existent laws is hidden behind new laws, or when a new law is called for before the latest law has even come into effect. Very often gun owners feel completely misled by ever repeated promises that the newest restriction will also be the last one. As a consequence they tend to refuse compliance with further control measures as best as they can. This in turn is seen as proof for further legislative or administrative measures, following the erroneous principle of "more of the same".

As social and legal conditions vary over a very broad spectrum there obviously can be no "one size fits all" way of gun control. Certainly it should not be founded on the assumption that "gun control will reduce the number of legal and illegal arms in circulation" as it's only credo.


Copyright © 2001 South African Gun Owners Association, all rights reserved.