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.
Craig is the owner of Tactical Quarter Master (TacQM), and does a regular podcast on Gunsite Radio called “Shootin’ the Breeze with Camouflage762”.
5 years ago
Well done on writing what should be a lesson to all. If one cannot discuss and learn from failure it is not possible to win. Many firearm owners showed great courage in fighting the FCA and I was privileged and proud to know and work with the very best. Some of the finest people I know who gave more than can be expected of anyone right to the end.
You are absolutely correct in that right from the beginning the ANC has negotiated in bad faith. It starts while the FCA was being developed and SAGA got wind of this, requesting an interview with Azhar Cachalia then minister of safety and security. Theses representatives were made to wait, then addressed as school boys and told we know what you want to say and are not interested. That has been the ANC attitude from day one. Safety and security then developed the initial version of the FCA using the document prepared by Jackie Potgieter of ISS. A document government denies exists but had to beg parliament to find funding for it as procedures were not followed. GCA were given office space at safety and security as meetings took place so often it was more convenient. The most likely person who occupied that office was the legal representatives of CHPI, the child health policy unit of the university of Cape Town.
From the onset the FCA is filled with deceit and manipulation by the ANC. Secret denied policy meeting by the SAPS defined the direction based on the ISS report. Nothing the ANC did ever gave an confidence the law would prevail, 2000 submissions were tossed down the drain as the sheer number (mostly complete rejections) would have caused a media reaction. What happened next must stand as a huge mistake by firearm organisations. Instead of banding together they now tried to gain favours for their area of interest from the ANC promising compliance if given.
Cowardice and collaboration was the defeat of any opposition to the Firearms Control Act. Instead of banding together one by one they all tried to negotiate with the ANC who simply strung them along until it was to late. Divide and rule had been so easily applied to selfish greedy cowardly people who were unwilling to fight. Most were willing to sacrifice one area for survival of their own. Dog eat dog was what the ANC needed to relieve the pressure that was so evident in the beginning. Televised marches through the streets attended by thousands. Letters in every newspaper owning them not allowing one utterance of the ANC or gun control to go unchallenged. An underground counter propaganda campaign that took to radio, TV and the media to inform the public of the mistake that would be made by the FCA. Most firearm owners are completely unaware of the hidden fight. Unfortunately instead of being embraced by firearm organisations these chose to instead collaborate and appease.
Slowly firearm organisation disillusioned those fighters willing to object and expectant members. Telling them that it was impossible to fight government and they must accept that and let firearm organisation negotiate for the best they can. Only a desperate fool wishing to make government happy would have made such a suggestion. However there is no shortage of such fools who have destroyed all opposition to this abomination of an Act. Disillusioned people who accept injustice as impossible to fight or win are not ever going to object. That is the price South African firearm owners have paid for having selfish cowards as leaders who collaborated rather than fight. South Africa is not unique in this phenomena and it applies to the UK, Switzerland and the USA where even the NRA has been caught negotiating citizens constitutional rights with government.
The moral is if you have cowards for leaders get rid of them as fast as you can. If you want to win and survive the ANC realise it will not be done with some pretty words and government listening. Unless one is willing to reduce ANC popularity and thus votes you have no power and nothing but what you already have to negotiate with. If your life and safety of your family is not worth a bit of effort and inconvenience then do not bother. You will learn that people willing to fight for their rights are hard to find. Most are willing to die to find out what governments can do. 262 million proves that conclusively.
Take no notice of the fact nothing much has changed in 17 years, gun control will not go away or die while citizens have guns. Sooner or later they will be back. Will you be ready this time? Will you fight or capitulate? Remember that each run in with new laws will leave less behind. Those tossed to the wolves and forgotten will not be fighting alongside anyone. Those who come to tell you it is impossible, be reasonable are your enemies not your friends. Government is testing the water right now to see what reaction it gets for the next wave. You have been warned and it is up to you.
5 years ago
The best thing is to follow the money , who had the most to gain by licking Gov a.. . And its not the SAP .
5 years ago
Peter Moss is right, the lessons must be learned and remembered.
Stefan Molyneux said it best:
“There is no such thing as gun control. There is only the concentration of gun ownership in the hands of a small political elite and their minions.” [I would change the word minion to henchmen.]
The people of SA must be informed from every rooftop that gun control is simply letting the ANC control all guns, nothing more, nothing less. once that is clear, your average South African would be horrified at supporting gun control.
We must all do what we can. For me, its blogging away in comment columns and convincing the sheep on the net and in social settings. Sometimes its a slow process, but eventually logic has a way of winning.
5 years ago
Thanks for the kind words.
Let me help here and bring some thirty years of experience and many lesson from the school of hard knocks to this interesting reflection. I am a person in general of few words and accuracy in more important to me than anyone’s feelings. I’m better now than I used to be….
If you are going to sell something to the public make damn sure it is something they want. The average SA citizen knows criminals have guns, the elite have guns and police have guns. They are not to interested in knowing anything about somebody taking those guns away from the elite, police of anyone else. They have no relationship with it. No sale. No value to them.
Now what does impact them? Crime? You bet so what can you sell them that they want? Guns? No. Safety? If you cannot sell the public safety rather teach. What is required is to make every comment an impact on public safety. I mean it is what we all want anyway.
Thus far I have not been able to get firearm owners to see the sense of that approach. They want to haul people off to the range, take them shooting, scream about their problems with CFR, bitch about the FCA, glorify guns, training…… anything but what will get the public’s attention. This fight can only be won with public support. I said that in 1998 and it will never change. I don’t care how one gets it but get that support is the only way.
Public support is political power. You can negotiate with power. You can do nothing but beg without power.
5 years ago
Actually propaganda uncountered has a way of winning. Propaganda cannot lose by not being opposed.
5 years ago
I agree wholeheartedly.
However, the gun rights organizations are often hampered by politeness. ISS for example, is funded by Open Society, and what it produces is used to inform gun laws. The ISS must be attacked without fear or favour and discredited. There is no “working with them” in this arena.
The UCT lot are also funded by Open Society and just as biased. UCT have to be challenged and publicly embarrassed. The Medical research Council publishes rubbish by various office bearers of GFSA, but this is still in their archives. they should be publicly shamed and forced to withdraw the publications.
It seems though, as if more and more is being done, especially by the host of this site. Statistical analyses are being generated which counters the GFSA mythology, and does so very well. getting this into editorial boards with most MSM having a strong anti-gun bias is extremely difficult. It is an ongoing effort, one in which the work is never done
5 years ago
My comments are made with the greatest respect and appreciation to the individuals and organisations who have over the years endeavoured to affect the relentless and insidious onslaught on our rights.
The simple truth is this. When dealing with ideologues, whether government tyrants or anti-gunners, expect nothing but the absolute worst treachery and betrayal. They have no integrity, have never had any. Their view is that you’re a useful idiot if you trust them. If you do, you are indeed an idiot and not even a useful one.
We can and do win every philosophical and factual argument and have always held the moral high ground, seemingly believing that doing so will somehow change things. Fat lot of good that has done us over the years.
You cannot and will not prevail with reasonable, rational arguments and facts against tyrants and fanatics. Never in history has it worked. The only language they understand is their own. In every instance, the only time civil society prevails in this country is where it resorts to targeted legal action against abusive entities and individuals. It is the sole mechanism left with which citizens can defend their rights (not just gun ownership) and enforce accountability. We had better use it while we still have it.
Simply put, we allow them to intimidate us into submission and worst of all, into (individual) silence. Time to change the game. Intimidate them into compliance. Target abusive individuals regardless of rank. Make their lives a misery. Social media is probably the most powerful weapon ever invented (ask JZ if you don’t believe that).
Realize that it will take money, lots of it and it will never, ever come to an end. Accept it and act today or you may as well hand in your guns right now and use that money to buy a one way ticket out of here.
5 years ago
Lovely comment I’m going to quickly correct you because I’m going out. Courts are for PUBLICITY. You cannot win in governments courts. Watch Zuma give a lesson in how useless the courts really are when you control them from beginning to end.
The only court that is not controlled is that of public opinion. That court carries the power of voting which is difficult to circumvent. Popularity is the most valuable thing a political party has. If you want to play politics learn the rules because the only currency of politics is power.
5 years ago
Peter, Thank you I stand corrected. The court of public opinion it may well have to be. We unfortunately don’t seem to have been much good at that either.
5 years ago
We are terrible at winning because we would rather follow the ideas of people who are in authority but are not interested or incapable of thinking out the box. They without evidence, proof or examination discard what an be easily shown to be the only way to win. They would rather fight each other in greed, suspicion or selfishness than consider the consequences of their stupidity.
Today we stand defeated due to two things firearm organisations trying to cut deals at the expense of others and the most idiotic idea ever that helping the SAPS with suggestions of more control measures would have them hopelessly snowed under. Another was the idea a court case over compensation would bankrupt government. If you ever want to read a miscarraige of justice get a copy of the JASA case appeal judgement. Instead of using this case to generate support it was sold as an atomic bomb. When it failed all hope left the building.
These clowns are not capable of thinking of the psychological impact of what they do and say or they simply do not care. They certanly have never cared enough to want to win. It will take members bitching at organisations to change them. They are vital to this fight.