Why a South African Firearm Forum in your town or city

The South African Firearm Forum has come a long way in three years but there is still much left to do.

What is quite clear is that if you want something done then you have to do it yourself. While there are organisations that are ideally placed to take on this task they have thus far shown no inclination to do so. This possibly because they do not see any campaign that attempts to influence public opinion as worth the effort. There is even less chance that any would take a leadership role in what has to be done.

Nor do any of these organisations have the infrastructure to take on such a project, as they were not convened for this specific task.

Nor should we rely on sports and recreational organisations to take on the mantle of firearm owners or public protector by informing members of the implications of the Firearms Control Act. The majority of such organisations think that they are all right and look forward to increased forced membership and the opportunity to further swell club coffers with membership, training and ammunition sales.

Some have even gone so far as to welcome the Firearms Control Bill and support it. Others are willing to sell their souls in the hope that they will be the controlling body or have exclusive rights to training. Money talks louder than sense for the greedy who care not about the future of all firearm activities and possession of firearms, being more concerned with their greed than their future survival.

There is only one way of persuading firearm organisations to take a more proactive roll. That is to start the ball rolling. Somebody has to make a start and sitting around waiting for that somebody or something is a pointless waste of valuable time. Time that we no longer have.

If we remember that all clubs and organisations are made up of people and that most attempt to carry out the will and desires of the members. All we have to do is give members the will and desire to be proactive and take an interest in how the Firearms Control Act will impact negatively on their interest. Encouraging them to look after themselves because nobody else is going to mount an effective counter to the present and future situation.

Cost of ownership will increase dramatically. Be this from vastly increased licensing costs or requirements of ownership, from payment of renewable license fees and training, to bureaucratic demands of evidence of good character and safe storage.

License fees will be several hundred Rand per firearm and ongoing depending on the period for that class of firearm. The government is determined to extract the cost or a major part of implementation of the Central Firearms Registry from firearm owners.

Membership of suitable organisations require payment of annual membership fees. This will not just be a once off payment as ownership is dependent on membership.

Many believe they will simply have to join an organisation to get a license. Not so as any accredited organisation must keep a register of members and forward this data to the Central Firearms Registry. Where a member has been certified as dedicated you can be sure that it is in the interest of the certifying organisation to report to the CFR of any change of circumstance. So fake or bogus registrations will be found out. No organisation is going to put its accreditation status at stake just for the convenience of people who want to own more firearms but could not be bothered to take part in club or organised activities.

Safes will become more expensive to meet the new SABS specification. There is a grandfather clause but how long it will last and apply to new license applications is open to debate.

The cost of training has not been accurately estimated because the regulations are not complete. However there is little doubt that this will also be several hundred Rand and payable for each class of firearm licenced.

As dealers sales fall due to decreased demand (there is a direct relationship between cost of ownership and rate of ownership) there will probably have to be an increase of profit margins to compensate. When order numbers fall, the price increases, as there is less benefit from bulk buying.

The future of firearm ownership is in the balance and all the influences that decrease demand are well known to anti-gun organisations and government. All these influences will be used to decrease both the demand and desire for ownership.

There are many examples of how simple and relatively insignificant changes have had a major impact on firearm ownership. Cadets and shooting skills in schools for example will have major benefits to future potential firearm owners. Stopping or reducing such training and exposure to firearms will impact negatively in the future. The lack of conscription for military training will also remove many hundreds of thousands of people who have been trained or exposed to the use of firearms and could be considered firearms friendly.

All of these factors unless some concerted effort is made to reduce and counter the affects, will eventually lead to the demise of firearm ownership. When combined with the propaganda effort of gun control organisations and proponents including government then unopposed it will happen all the sooner.

There is only one alternative if we wish to succeed, that is to take up the challenge of gun control, counter the propaganda and promote firearms sports and activities. How we react will determine not only our future but also the future generations of South Africans in having the ability to enjoy sports of choice and retain the right to self-defense with the best means possible.

Join the South African FirearmForum and organise interested people in your club, town or city.

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