First published by the Free Market Foundation on 30 July 2021.
The Free Market Foundation regards the ability of law-abiding persons to defend themselves, their loved ones, and their assets with sufficient force to ward off any physical harm as a fundamental human right.
This right transcends positive law, and therefore need not be taken up explicitly in the Constitution. No law may interfere with a right so basic to human survival. Regardless, the Constitution does provide both indirect (through section 39(3)) and implicit recognition and protection for this right, through its recognition of the rights to equality, human dignity, life, freedom and security of the person, and property. To the extent that the Firearms Control Amendment Bill undermines the right of people to defend themselves and their property – and regrettably it does so in many ways – therefore, it is regarded as unconstitutional and must be abandoned forthwith.
Additionally, the Free Market Foundation is deeply concerned about the woeful inadequacy of the study that is meant to be the empirical and evidentiary basis of the proposed bill – its socio-economic impact assessment. The assessment fails to comply with every important requirement that characterises a rigorous and satisfactory impact study. Most concerning of all, the Department of Police seems to have commissioned, and then ignored, a prior, more rigorous and sound study that in fact concluded further firearm control measures would not lead to a reduction in violent crime.
The Free Market Foundation therefore recommends that the Firearms Control Amendment Bill be withdrawn.
Martin van Staden