FCA Amendment Bill slammed by Anti-gunners

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FCA Amendment Bill slammed by Anti-gunners

Postby Martin_tu » Sat, 2006-04-08 20:50

Changes to gun laws criticised
March 31, 2006
The Mercury

By Leanne Raymond

Cape Town: Gun Free South Africa and public health representatives have slammed a draft amendment Bill to ease the stringent gun laws imposed by the Firearms Control Act. Instead, these organisations have called for changes to the Act to make it even stronger.

Gun Free SA's Margy Keagen said the amendment Bill, which was being discussed at the Safety and Security Department, proposed to drop the system of licence renewals with updated background checks, and drop controls over how many guns existing gun owners might own.

The head of Trauma at the Red Cross Children's Hospital, Sebastian van As, also representing the Child Accident Prevention Programme, said there had been a marked decrease in children killed and wounded by guns since the new law had been introduced.

He said the number of children under 12 treated for gunshot wounds at his hospital had increased steadily from 32 in 1995 to 43 in 2000. Since the law had been introduced in 2000, the number had dropped to 10 in 2004. Since 1998, the number of children killed by guns nationally had fallen to 700 from 800.

Children who witnessed shootings or survived gunshot wounds were "traumatised for their whole lives". Every year 30 000 legal guns went missing or were stolen, making them the biggest source of illegal handguns. Gun laws should be made stricter, by raising the age limit of owning a gun from 21 to 25.

"Most perpetrators of crime are 20-year-olds. It is crazy to give them firearms," he said. "Anyone with a temporary or permanent protection order against them should have to hand in their gun." He proposed that opening a gun shop be subject to the same stringent measures that applied to opening a liquor store.

Naeemah Abrahams, from the Medical Research Council, said 1 147 women had been murdered with guns in 1999, representing 33% of all women murdered that year.

"Guns are particularly dangerous in South African homes and their availability is extensively entwined with violence against women," she said.
Gun Free's Greg Abrahams said a deficiency in the system of licence renewals was believed to be the reason for the proposed amendments, although renewal applications had dropped dramatically.

"It seems the department has been convinced by the gun lobby that there is a problem with applications for renewals, but gun owners are not applying for renewals. How can there be a problem if the system is not being used?"

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"I'd rather have a gun and not need it than vice versa."
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