This article was sent to me by Craig Gadd some time ago. Considering the rumours that new amendments to the FCA will be published for comment before the end of the year, I think the time is right to put this out there. As you can tell from his writing below, Craig was very much involved in the processes leading up to the creation of the Firearms Control Act of 2000. The experience, thoughts, and feelings described are his own. This is published raw, with minimal editing done. This is Craig’s story of trust broken.
Someone more street-smart than me once told me that “If you have to negotiate for something already have, you have lost already”. The implication being that whatever you have now, you will ultimately have less of by the conclusion of the negotiations.
It is sometime in the year 2000. I find myself within a chamber in parliament where hearings are taking place regarding the proposed Firearms Control Act. Mululeki George is the Chairman. He is seated across from me, facing the audience. To my left sit a bunch of ANC MPs. General Constandt Viljoen is to my right. Cherelyn Dudley, of the ACDP, and Booi Geldenhuys are to present.
I am extremely nervous since it is the first time in a long while that I am wearing a suit. Also, I have no legal training or debating experience. To top it all off, my car broke down on the way to parliament. My submission focused on the objectives of the proposed act. To sum it up, the act would eventually lead to the killing-off of firearms in private ownership. I was surprised at this. That nobody had focused on the objectives, but would rather be distracted by the details of the act was even more surprising. According to me I this would have been the logical place to start.
In summary, Gen. Viljoen, Dudley and Geldehuys were supportive of me. The Chairman asked what I considered inane questions, and the ANC MPs kept very quiet, only inquiring as to where I thought the cash-in-transit robbers got their rifles. They thought the guns were sourced from collectors.
My presentation was politely received and, to be blunt, had my proposals been accepted the South African government could have saved billions of Rands.
Here we are 17 years later. Every now and then the powers that be cause a ruckus, and us gun owners represented by The Few go through the motions of defending our rights.
For many years now the government, egged-on by GFSA and other ideologically-aligned non-elected and non-representative social justice warriors, have been making life difficult for ordinary law-abiding citizens.
Through a process which feigns consultation regarding the various firearm laws, the executive is making the lawful ownership and use of firearms increasingly difficult. The administrative arms of government and the SAPS have ensured that the applied bureaucracy is equally onerous, and they often fail to comply with their own regulations and laws.
You have witnessed the large amount of cases brought against the police for administrative justice. I personally have had to spend money to appeal a rejected licence that was correctly submitted. Thus through a process of fear-mongering by means of propaganda, burdensome and impractical laws were passed by parliament. This is further compounded by CFR incompetence on an epic scale.
The powers that be negotiate in bad faith.
Recently the good-idea-gun-free-fairy thought it would be marvelous to hold another firearm amnesty. Likely so that the NGO could remain relevant and justify their existence to their donors. Fortunately the plan was poorly thought-through and did not comply with required parliamentary procedures, and it did became stillborn. (Therefore failing to leak possibly thousands of further weapons to criminals due to corruption within the SAPS – Ed.)
So, what is my point? I refer you to the quote in Scene 1 – “If you have to negotiate for something already have, you have lost already”.
Negotiating with broken trust
Why should we negotiate with the Government?
Their objectives are clearly aimed at destroying private firearms ownership and use. They negotiate in bad faith, and the police either ignore laws and regulations, or simply break them with impunity. Thomas Jefferson stated that “the law is the tool of the tyrant”. Unfair laws have been foisted upon us, and this will continue. The Government has endless resources in terms of our tax money, and they employ people who want to keep their jobs. They will do what they are told even if this does contravene proper ethics, morality, laws and the constitution.
If you think the laws are fair, remember there was a time where you could go to your local magistrate and request a licence for a firearm. No fuss. No hassle. Life was better for all.
As long as we continue to negotiate from a position where we are trying to convince everyone that we are reasonable citizens we are going to lose in the long-run. We may have small victories now. But due to the resources at the disposal of the government we will come off second best. Who knows what the laws will look like in a 100 years from now, considering how onerous they are now.
So, what should our negotiating position be?
That is a topic of another blog.
Written by Craig Gadd.