Draft Firearms Control Bill is aiming at the wrong target

Wouldn’t improving security at government armouries and punishing those who lose, steal or sell official firearms be much more effective?


The parliamentary portfolio committee on police moved quickly to douse the fires of concern about a proposed amendment to the Firearms Control Act which would make it more difficult to obtain or renew a gun licence.

The committee called for calm, labelling the draft changes as a “dated” document and said it had not been given any such document “by the executive” to peruse.

With all due respect to our parliamentarians, that does not mean – not by a long way – that this is fake news. On the contrary, there have been no outright denials from government that the draft Bill is not still being circulated.

And that is definitely a cause for concern. That is because, if those who drew up the controversial draft get their way, then gun owners will have to provide a valid reason for owning a gun. And self-defence, protection of your property or the protection of another person will not be considered valid reasons.

Gun owner lobby groups are concerned this legislation, if enacted, would effectively disarm the entire civilian population, leaving it increasingly vulnerable to attacks by criminals … and possibly other malcontents.

While the document worrying gun owners has not yet been tabled or made public for discussion, the government has made no secret in the past of its intention to restrict private firearm ownership.

It is also no secret that the number of private weapons which are stolen and end up in the hands of criminals is a fraction of the more than 1 500 state-owned guns that “disappear” every year and are then used in everything from murders to cash-in-transit heists.

We ask: Wouldn’t improving security at government armouries and punishing those who lose, steal or sell official firearms be much more effective in bringing down gun crime?

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