So. I want to make this clear from the start: I am not a lawyer. This does not constitute any form of legal advice. I do, however, have a schooled layman’s understanding of the law, the ability to research, a keen appreciation of history and the application of the successful concepts found in those lessons from the past.
As I put in another application for a firearm today, I looked at the list of items and addendums the DFO required me to submit alongside my SAPS 271. It struck me that this litany of elements which they compelled me to add, exemplified the ultra vires nature of their demands made on us.
This list included two photographs, which I could actually understand until one looks at all of your licenses. They only use the first ones you ever submitted. They do not use the additional photographs at all. So why the requirement to make you add it? Is it simply to place an additional cost, and time consuming requirement, in an effort to downstream manage people away from applying?
Secondly the requirement to add, if you purchased a firearm from a dealer, a copy of the dealer’s stock submittal form to SAPS. Yes they are making you, a third party, enter correspondence between themselves and a dealer into your license application. Think about that for a minute; that is like asking your school teacher to send her a letter of employment with your matriculation certificate when you apply to a university. Again why are we not asking why?
Then they ask for copies of your training certificates, now if you were applying for a competency certificate then I could see the validity in this. The process which verifies the training requirements is the competency certificate application. It also profiles the nature of the person and their criminal propensity. So why, if the SAPS themselves have already verified and certified this, should anyone be compelled to resubmit the source documentation upon which that certification was made? That makes as much logical sense, to dip into our school analogy, to ask a person for a matriculation certificate after they present a bachelor’s degree. Something, I hasten to add, SAPS has done on numerous occasions.
None of these requirements are mentioned anywhere in the act, and they seem to change according to the whims of the DFO, the Provincial FLASH or the CFR. It drives the logical conclusion that the officials within these structures are completely captured by bureaucratic inertia, and too poorly managed to make changes or utilize a strategy of obfuscation by onerous administration to implement their personal agendas.
Administrative officials, which all of these officers are, only derive their power from the law. It is really that simple. They may only demand from you that which is written in the law itself. Their use and responsibilities of those powers, and the compulsion on them to adhere to the dictums of that root law, is further regulated by the Constitution. The latter dictates that all exercises of public power be rational, justifiable and reasonable.
These concepts of rationality, justification and reason, the interpretations thereof and the exercise or compliance therewith, are governed by the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA). So now we have the Constitution, which uses the PAJA to govern the implementation and administration of the FCA. Alphabet soup right? Yes, a little, but from the way I see it this also provides firearms owners with a great deal of standing in law. If we use it.
Instead of blindly accepting what the DFO, FLASH or the CFR tell us, ask for it in writing. Specifically, ask them to reference the law. Demand from them continuously that they adhere to the laws, and not think, feel or do as they please.
Here comes my reference to the lessons of history. In the “old days” another piece of onerous and odious legislation was foisted upon us. They were called the Dompas laws. One of the most successful mechanisms of countering this law, was to simply invite arrest and overwhelm the system with the paperwork that went along with it. The strategy worked. Now, I am not saying anyone should disregard the law and invite arrest. What I am saying is that the concept of overwhelming the unjust machinations of administration by obfuscation is to leverage every single element of the system to rectify it.
Literally, we as freedom-loving gun owners need to build a wall of paper and process which the administrators themselves will provide. At every opportunity where a DFO, FLASH or CFR member fails to adhere to the PAJA and the concepts of rationality, justification and reason a complaint should be made. This complaint must be sent to the cluster commander, the provincial commissioner, the national commissioner, the SAPS service complaints line, the police civilian secretariat, the Police Portfolio Committee and, if you are in the Western Cape, to the police ombudsman as well. If you can afford it, engage in legal action. But do not meekly comply just to hedge against incompetence or avoid malfeasance. We can change the system. We can demand our justice back. But we have to raise our voices and stand steadfast for our constitution, our rights and our freedoms.
#bulliesmustfall, #endapartheid against #gunowners #PAJA #justice4gunowners
Written by Bryan Mennnie
Bryan Mennie is a professional risk and crisis manager. He has taught kidnap avoidance and hostage survival to various international organizations and has managed protective and security operations in over twenty countries in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.