South Africa: Firearms Control Amendment Bill - the Dark Side of the War of Words Over Proposed Gun Regulations

analysis

Extremist pro-gun lobbyists have directed their fury at Gun Free South Africa, the anti-gun NGO they believe played a key role in writing the controversial Firearms Control Amendment Bill. Then there's cartoonist Jeremy Nell, aka Jerm.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Part One: Up in arms

The Firearms Control Amendment Bill has sparked a war of words between pro-gun lobbyists and those in support of the legislation aimed at curbing gun violence.

The bill has been lambasted by one side and praised by the other for removing the "self-defence" clause as a reason to lawfully own a weapon.

Section 1.2 of the bill reads: "In order to address the reduction of gun deaths and gun violence, firearm licences for self-defence purposes will not be permitted."

The latest draft legislation replaces the Firearms Control Amendment Bill submitted to Cabinet in February 2015.

The DA was infuriated by the proposed amendment, launching a petition opposing the bill. The petition had 45,000 signatures by 30 May.

In a press statement, Andrew Whitfield, the DA spokesperson on police, called it an "absurd and baseless piece of legislation" that would remove South Africans' last line of defence against violent crime.

"The...

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