Parliamentary submission - Hunters

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Parliamentary submission - Hunters

Postby Martin_tu » Fri, 2006-08-18 12:13

HUNTERS FORUM - A voluntary forum of, Hunters Associations accredited in terms of Act 60 of 2000

AMENDMENTS TO THE FIREARMS CONTROL ACT 2000 (ACT 60 OF 2000): HUNTERS FORUM: PRESENTATION TO THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SAFETY AND SECURITY

SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS

· The administrative process needs to be simplified.

· The firearm owner, rather than the firearm needs to be certified.

· Existing legally owned firearms should be audited and owners be permitted to keep these.

· The definition of muzzle loaders must be broadened.

· Silencers should not be regulated.

· Concept of self defence changed to necessary defence

· Immediate supervision - definition broadened

· Appeals Board - rectify Section 8

· Professional hunting - create additional licensing category

· Re-barrelling of existing firearm - allow re-barrelling without having to renew licence

· Number of rounds in possession increased to 500

· Provisional licences - situations under which to approve.

THE HUNTERS FORUM

The Hunters Forum consists of South African hunters associations, which have been accredited by the SAPS (central firearms registry) in terms of Section 4 of the FCA Regulations (2004). The Forum has as it's mandate the task to represent the accredited hunting associations in discussions with the CFR in the endeavour to reach consensus on issues pertaining to the FCA. The accredited associations represent approximately 49,000 members. The associations that make up the Forum are:

· The Confederation of Hunting Associations of South Africa ( CHASA)

· SA Wingshooters

· Lowveld Hunters and Game Conservation Association

· Eastern Cape Game Management Association (ECGMA)

· KwaZulu-Natal Hunting and Conservation Association

· National Shooting Association ( NSA )

· The Professional Hunters Association of South,. . . ASA)

The Hunters Forum represents:


· Hunters and conservationists that underwrite ethical hunting and promote the culture of conservation through utilisation.

· A collective contribution to the national economy through membership (i.e. job creation on game ranches, the legal firearm trade, and the annual spending of large amounts in rural areas for the privilege to hunt);

· Implementation of operational training programmes for proficiency and dedicated hunter status

· Participation on all levels to ensure the smooth implementation of the FCA through the Hunters Forum and the Wildlife Forum (DEAT);

· The philosophy of the FCA and the certification of responsible firearm owners through the awarding of competency status.

COMMENTS ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

The Hunters Forum understands that Govemment has to harmonise South African laws with international and regional agreements such as the UN and SADC protocols on light weapons and small arms. We agree with both the aims and content of the said protocols, and believe them to represent a solution that recognises Africa's particular needs.

Act and Administrative Process: The Hunters Forum agrees with the Minister that the current Act is in need of simplification and that the severe administrative burden it places on the SAPS should be relieved.

Certifying of owner and not firearm:

It is submitted that:

. The focus of the licensing process should be moved from "the need for the firearm" to "the competency of the owner". It is the person handling a firearm that is potentially dangerous and not the firearm itself.

. Ideally, a person, once certified competent, should be able to purchase a firearm. Only the competency of the owner should be assessed every 5 or 10 years.

· Existing legal firearms licences under a process of auditing:

· All firearms legally held under the old Act, should be permitted to be held as is.

· The process of licence renewals should be changed to a user friendly and simplified process of auditing.

· Continued dedicated hunter or dedicated sports person status should be accepted as proof of qualification for continued competency.

· This would ensure that no existing ownership rights are infringed upon

Silencers (devices to muffle report):

It is submitted that:

· The proposed regulation and "authorisation of a device attached to the barrel of a firearm in order to muffle the report should not be implemented, as it will only further add to the administrative burden of the DFO / FCA with insufficient results in application due to the severe difficulty of implementation.

Hunters currently use an estimated 130,000 silencers on hunting rifles for the following reasons:

· Silencers are widely utilised in hunting where animals are not to be disturbed (i.e. culling ranching and eco-tourism demands their use).

· Silencers provide sound, muzzle blast, and recoil moderation, and are essential in the training of children, women and small-framed men.

· The use of silencers is advisable (even mandatory) where pregnant women need to engage in shooting and training activities.

· For a silencer to be effective on especially large calibre rifles, reloading of ammunition is essential, otherwise the muzzle blast (sound report) will not be altered significantly.

· It is impractical to hunt with earmuffs, silencers give protection against permanent hearing loss.

Self Defence:

It is submitted that:

· The concept, self defence, should be replaced with the concept, necessary defence.

"Private defence is often referred to as self defence, a term that implies that what is in issue is only the defence of the physical self, the person. Since in fact the defence is available for the protection of other persons and other interests such as property, chastity, liberty, it [the term] is misleading. Some authorities prefer the description "necessary defence" as indicating the general nature of the defence. W (Burchell & Milton. 1991: 109). (Burchell & Milton. 1991. Principles of Criminal Law, Johannesburg: Juta).

Immediate supervision:

It is submitted that:

· The definition for immediate supervision should be broadened to provide for hunting

It is impossible for a father as holder of a firearm licence to directly supervise his young son while for instance shooting in the same hunt on a location maybe soon or 1 km away from his son's position.

Appeals Board:

It is submitted that:

The current amendment should address from occurring in Item 8 of Schedule A. The current wording does not provide for the compilation of a Appeals Board. It is thus submitted that the Appeals Board as it stands now does not have authority to deal with appeals in terms of the old Act.

It is also submitted that:

· The words .or tribunal should be added after Court of Law in Item 8 of said Schedule A to make the transitional provisional more effective.

Professional Hunting:

It is submitted that:

· A new category of firearm licence should be declared for professional hunters and that PHASA should be accredited to endorse firearm applications in this category.

The professional hunters qualification is recognized by Nature Conservation as the standard in the industry, and is also the requirement of PHASA for full membership in order to function as professional hunter.

It is also submitted that:

· The requirements for international hunters to import a firearm for hunting should made less cumbersome and more practical.

Many international hunters are choosing to hunt Namibia rather than South Africa, as the Namibian import process is practical and easy, and Namibia offers a very similar hunting experience.


Re-barrelling of existing firearms:

It is submitted that:

· Allowance should be made to re-barrel a firearm for the same cartridge and calibre, when the barrel has been damaged, or worn out.

The firearm is already licensed and is not materially altered by re-barrelling to the same cartridge/calibre combination. Barrels are wear components and need to be replaced from time to time, which restores the firearm to its original condition.

Number of rounds in possession:

It is submitted that:

· The number of rounds in possession of an occasional hunter of sport-shooter should be

Wingshooters and practical sport shooters regularly use more than 350 rounds during one clay target shooting or practical shooting occasion.

Ammunition is sold in stock boxes of 250 rounds - buying in smaller quantities increases costs considerably.

Provisional Licence:

It is submitted that:

A section be included in the FCA to allow for a provisional licence to be issued under one of the following conditions:

· In the case of a hunter or sport shooter who wants a custom-built firearm made; s/he should be allowed to receive a provisional licence to ensure that s/he does not spend money on a firearm which may eventually not be licensed (barrel and receiver numbering can be done before firearm is manufactured);

· If an individual who is not a dedicated hunter or sport-shooter but wants to acquire an additional firearm, and is willing to dispose of one or more of his/her other legally held firearms in order to acquire the new firearm. The provisional licence should then allow him to acquire the new firearm in a specified time in which to also dispose of the agreed firearms.


CONCLUSION

· The above inputs are based upon the following principles which are subscribed to by all member associations of the Hunters Forum:

That there be no infringement of existing rights granted to firearm owners, that the Act be applied consistently, and that the administration thereof be transparent.

That the forthcoming changes to the Regulations be made available simultaneously with those amending the FCA, as the Act cannot be viewed in isolation from the Regulations.

· That the amendments to the Act and Regulations be supported by a Service Charter, setting minimum standards for service delivery as is done by all other service oriented bodies of State.


Sincerely

Dr Herman Els

Chairman: Hunters Forum

Dr Herman Els :Vice Chairman: Hunters Forum
"I'd rather have a gun and not need it than vice versa."
Martin_tu
 
Posts: 84
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Location: Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa

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