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The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters) has formally submitted their comment on the controversial Draft Firearms Amendment Bill published in May 2021. The amendments proposed in the bill came under harsh criticism from various industry stakeholders due to far-reaching consequences that for example, could deny South Africans the right to own a firearm for self-defence or to reload ammunition.

According to the CEO of SA Hunters, Fred Camphor, there are numerous other proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act 60 of 2000) that are deemed impractical and unfair. “Pertinent to our members is 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 this piece of draft legislation was developed from the onset 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, SA Hunters 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. – Press release, SA Hunters