Re Proposed Amendment to FCA as per Social Media

 NHSA Newsletter

VOL. 14 (33) - 17-10-2018


Dear member,

Apologies for a longish but really important Email, please.

A document portrayed as a purported Bill for amendment of the Firearms Control Act has been doing the rounds on social media today (17-10-2018)

As usual the individual texts of all and sundry after the initial social media message was posted, created more confusion than presenting factual explanation as the day wore on.  One of the last comments made in all seriousness was that government is going to take away all our firearms.

Please do not get caught up in this misleading and probably not well informed and mostly emotional social debate.

NHSA is just as perturbed as all other firearms associations, stakeholders, and owners about the possibility of the contents of the circulated document being published into a Bill.

But for that to happen it first has to be supported by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police, after which it has to be approved by Cabinet as a Bill.  Then it can be be published in the Government Gazette with time for public comment.  Thereafter it has to be written in its final format for approval by Cabinet, signed by the President; and only then can it become law (I might have slipped on a step or two).

We can see that this might then also be the time in which a number of court cases could very well be instituted against a number of the proposed amendments should these be written into the Amendment Act.

On the authenticity of the circulated document across which is printed in bold black letters, DRAFT DO NOT COPY, we can rely on comments by Mrs Dianne Kholer Barnard, a prominent and highly respected member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police, where she indicated as follows on questions posed to her in this regard.

Mrs Kholer Barnard writes as follows:

Re The draft amendment to the Firearm Act that is doing the rounds.
1.  It is a real leaked draft of a proposed amendment to the Firearms Act.
2.  It does indeed cut out the self-defence clause, massively limit ownership and ammunition.
3.  It has not been seen by Cabinet yet
4.  Our Police Portfolio Committee has done its BRRR report and no further legislation could be rushed through.
5.  Nothing will happen on this until after the election.
6.  If I am returned to Parliament I will fight this tooth and nail (NHSA will surely support you in that fight Madam).

The official NHSA stance on the contents of the document is that we should not be naive and disregard its contents.  But we should also not be dragged along in all directions the debate on social media goes with it (let us rather work with facts).

NHSA will comment on the Bill once it is published.  NHSA will in the mean time, however, make most of already proposed meetings of different firearm stakeholder groups to discuss the implications of the proposed Bill, and on how we could all possibly try and counter its negatives.

We shall keep members informed of any factual developments on this front.

We shall also notify members the moment the Bill has been published for public comment, which will probably be a time after the elections as Mrs Kholer Barnard indicates (that is if it is indeed published as Bill in a Government Gazette).

Please keep in mind that these proposed amendments have been on the table since 2013 in different guises.  NHSA has with other firearm associations and stakeholders, all formally commented at length in writing on those proposed amendments on at least two occasions; with those proposed amendments everytime ending up in naught.

And lastly, please remember that any Act can only be administratively implemented after it's Regulations have been published. 

Of the Firearms Amendment Act of 2006 (Act 28 of 2006), only three sections have been implemented through Regulations (the increase in time of validity of competencies being one), while it contains approximately 25 amendments to the FCA.  Thus, meaning that despite being written in law in 2006, there are still 22 Sections of that Act which cannot be administratively implemented at the end of 2018 because there are no Regulations for their implementation (that's 12 years later).

We are also all still awaiting the Minister's radio message confirmed amnesty to be declared.  The amnesty has also been in the making since June/July 2017.

IN THE MEAN TIME AFTER WE HAD SENT THE EMAIL TO ALL MEMBERS: Mr Francois Beukman (Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police), has issued the following statement late yesterday after GOSA put out a call to all to flood him with emails about the “Bill”. The statement reads as follows: 

Parliament, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 – The Portfolio Committee on Police has not received any formal referral with regard to the Fire-Arms Amendment Bill from the Executive that relates to private firearm ownership.

The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Francois Beukman reacted this afternoon after various stakeholders directed letters to the committee with regard to a dated internal departmental draft document proposing certain amendments to the current firearm legislation.

Mr Beukman said that the departmental processes with regard to the Fire-Arms Amendment Bill are still underway and no referral was tabled in Parliament.

“The only draft legislation that is before the committee is a Private Members Bill from Mr Pieter Groenewald that proposes certain technical amendments to the Fire-Arms Amendment Bill,” Mr Beukman clarified.

Interest groups and gun-owners must await the formal publishing of the draft legislation once it is finalised by the Department and Cabinet.

"It is indeed premature and not correct to over react to a dated internal document without formal status and without approval by the Executive," Mr Beukman said.

The committee will await the formal tabling of the said legislation. Mr Beukman said once the Firearms Amendment Bill is tabled all relevant parties will be given the necessary opportunity for input. 


Please stay vigilant
Herman Els

This Newsletter sent to all members per Email on 17-10-2018  with the section on the statement by Mr Beukman added to this Newsletter which wasnot included in the Email to members