The Western Cape Department of Community Safety has welcomed the extension on the deadline to make submissions on the Firearms Amendment Bill, which was granted by Police Minister Bheki Cele. The deadline has been extended to Monday, August 2.
The Bill has caused some controversy around amendments that would outlaw the purchasing of firearms licenses for the purposes of self-defence. It also outlines licenses for collectors, which means that citizens would no longer be able to collect antique firearms.
In a statement by the department, Community Safety Minister, Albert Fritz indicated that the Western Cape takes a data-led approach to policy and legislation development which the province’s safety plan is based on.
” There is no data showing that the high rate of crime and violence is caused by those who acquire firearms for the purposes of self-defence and enthusiasts who collect antique guns which, by law, have to be adjusted so that they can’t fire shots anyway,” Fritz said.
Fritz added that this is the reason why his Department oppose the amendments, which restrict legal ownership of firearms because the government should rather focus on illegal guns.
“Far too many guns are reported lost or stolen by police officers; far too many guns that were handed into SAPS on amnesty days and which should have been destroyed find their way onto the streets and in the hands of criminals. We are saying that we should be focusing on these problems. These are the real problems,” Fritz was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the Department has already made a formal submission which also argued that the amendments concerning self-defence infringe the rights of citizens to protect themselves.
The civil society organisation, Gun Free SA has urged the public to submit their comment on the bill.
The public is invited to comment on the changes to the firearms control act #YourVoiceCanStopABullet
Submit responses to [email protected] Deadline: 2nd August. The full document is available on https://t.co/rR8kOoiGVA pic.twitter.com/1ZXe9mPE1W
— Gun Free SA (@GunFreeSA) July 8, 2021