Parliament announced (or is about to announce) another so-called firearm amnesty. I do not actually know what they will call it once it is officially gazetted. It doesn’t really matter, anyway. The timing of this abortive, unnecessary, and ill-advised campaign is particularly suspect. Our Minister of Police tried more than once last year to shove one through Parly without adhering to the required protocols and procedures. Fortunately, the Portfolio Committee on Policing rebuffed these efforts and spared us all the disastrous implications thereof. This time, however, it appears that our illustrious Minister of Police, Mister Fearfokkol himself (according to his Twitter handle), has finally discovered how Parliamentary due process worked, and succeeded in getting approval for his gun amnesty.
The initiative will run from 1 June to 30 November. Although the dates will probably change before it is officially gazetted.
Now, I have extensively written about why firearm amnesties are a terrible idea (here and here). I don’t see the point in again unpacking all the numbers and relevant arguments. You are welcome (and encouraged) to read the provided articles for that background information. So, I am going to keep this as short and to the point as possible.
Firearm amnesties are for criminals.
If you are not a criminal who intends to surrender an unlawfully owned firearm, then you should not participate in this amnesty. If you own a firearm of which the licence has expired: there was recently a very expensive Constitutional Court case, of which judgement will be handed down within the next few months, pertaining to your problem. Until then your expired licence is completely valid as per the interim court order issued by Judge Tolmay in the North Gauteng High Court last year. Therefore this amnesty does not apply to you: it only applies to criminals.
On that note, let me put it bluntly that the least safe place you can surrender your lawfully owned firearm to, is the South African Police Service. The SAPS have a woeful track record as custodians not only of their own guns, but also those that are stored in evidence lockers and SAP13 stores. Unless you are perfectly comfortable of enabling a Colonel Chris Prinsloo Version 2.0 to sell your surrendered firearm to criminals, and can sleep soundly at night knowing your gun is in the custody of an organisation complicit in repeatedly arming criminals, then you should not voluntarily surrender your firearm to the SAPS under any circumstances.
Your legally owned firearm is safest while remaining in your custody.
Hence in closing: whatever media campaign is launched, please ignore the existence of this nonsensical effort by the authorities to coerce law-abiding gun owners to surrender their lawful property. If you are not a criminal, the amnesty doesn’t apply to you.
Written by Gideon Joubert
Gideon is owner and editor of Paratus