Firearm control in South Africa: the implications of not allowing a citizen to possess a firearm, for the purposes of self- defence.
MetadataShow full item record
Violent crime in South Africa is at an all-time high. In South Africa, scholarly studies suggest that a firearm is mainly used in the commission of violent crimes. Police interventions and legislation aimed at curbing this pandemic, are argued to be ineffective and do not deal with the increasing proliferation rate of both legal and illegal firearms in South Africa. Due to the high violent crime rate, citizens begin to feel their lives are in danger and acquire a firearm for the purposes of self-defence. The possession of a firearm for the purposes of self-defence then becomes a contributory factor that increases the proliferation rate of illegal firearms in the country. Criminals rob firearm owners of their firearm and then use these firearms in the commission of future violent crimes. In order to address this contributory factor and the overall proliferation of firearms within the country, the state wished to enact The Firearms Control Draft Amendment Bill 2017. One of the major highlights from the Bill is the state’s intention to repeal Section 13 and Section 14 of the FCA. These two Sections allowed a law-abiding citizen to possess a firearm for the purposes of self-defence. In accordance with the purposes of the Bill, the states thinking was that by preventing citizens from owning firearms for self-defence, criminals will no longer be able to steal these firearms from citizens and use them in the commission of other violent crimes. The rationale was that there will be a decrease in the proliferation rate of firearms and the rate of violent crimes in the country. What the state failed to consider was that there were also other factors which contributed to the high proliferation rate of firearms in South Africa, and that these factors should be addressed first before enacting the Bill and preventing a citizen from owning a firearm for the purposes of self-defence. By rather suggesting that the Bill be enacted and that citizens no longer be allowed to own a firearm for the purposes of self-defence, certain rights that a citizen has would be infringed. This includes their right to life and the right to freedom and security of the person (specifically bodily integrity and the right to be free from all forms of violence). The Section 36 Analysis done in this study will show that the limitation on these rights is not reasonable or justifiable and that less restrictive means exist ,which should be utilized.