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Firearms Control Act – Agriculture strongly opposed

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“Self-defence is everyone’s right and cannot be restricted by the state.” This was the reaction of Free State Agriculture (FSA) after the newly proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act were announced in the Government Gazette on Friday evening. The amendments include that the possession of a firearms for self-defence be removed.

“The mere thought that the government will raise such a proposal, in a country with some of the highest murder rates in the world, is not only outrageous but extremely disturbing and will lead to an increase in criminal anarchy!”, says Francois Wilken, president of Free State Agriculture. “This is absolutely contrary to the provisions of the common law with regard to the right to self-defence provided, while the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution absolutely guarantees the right to life.”

Wilken further says that especially rural communities are already vulnerable, as recently pointed out in the increase in farm attacks and murders statistics, and cannot afford to be deprived of legal firearms. “The state’s inability to protect its citizens from increasing crime,
the perception that criminals have more rights and may possess firearms that are normally illegal, and no longer have the right to defend themselves, is absurd and unconstitutional.”

Tommie Esterhuyse, vice president of FSA, points out that Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele’s recent crime statistics release stated that 21.1% of all murders can be attributed to armed robbery, rape, vigilantism, gang incidents and or revenge between the criminal and the victim. That multiple murders were committed in 245 incidents where 526 victims lost their lives because families were unable to defend themselves against armed criminals with firearms raises the question of whether the vast majority of firearms used by criminals in serious violent crimes is illegal? “The law-abiding citizen’s right to protect and defend himself / herself is now being questioned, which is absurd.” says Esterhuyse.

Free State Agriculture will soon launch a campaign to oppose the proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act.