Submission to The Portfolio Committee of Police on The Firearms Control Amendment Bill

Sonke believes that firearm control laws should attempt to delink notions of manhood with firearm ownership, and promote norms that do not make firearm possession a sign of power and masculinity.

Accordingly, this submission will focus on the following points:

  • Limiting the number of licences that are possible for occasional sport shooting and occasional hunting.
  • Creating stricter regulations for approval of firearms as collector’s items and limiting the number of licences private collectors can obtain.
  • Instituting compulsory training for firearm licence applicants, the Designated Firearms Officer, and the Appeals Board that incorporates gender specific messages that make clear the costs of owning firearms, specifically in terms of the societal costs of firearm use and abuse in the South African context as it links to interpersonal violence, domestic violence, and increased vulnerability to being a victim of violence.
  • Protecting the objective decision-making of the Designated Firearms Officers by ensuring their independence from the stations at which they are located.
  • Aligning the Bill with the spirit and requirements of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 (“the DVA”) by (a) requiring any person who has a final protection order issued against him or her to be declared unfit to possess a firearm and (b) removing the possibility of any person against whom a final protection order has been issued from re-applying for a competency certificate, licence, authorisation or permit after a period of 5 years from the date of the decision declaring such person unfit.