What is wrong with the Firearms Control Act

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What is wrong with the Firearms Control Act

Postby crimefree » Thu, 2006-04-27 09:04

What is wrong with the Firearms Control Act

The process of legislation

"Controversy" but more correctly deceit and subterfuge on the part of the government departments responsible dog the history of the Firearms Control Act. From the beginning then Minister S. Mufamadi proclaimed that the de Caris commission should find ways not of reducing illegal firearms but legal licensed firearms. No logical or criminologically sound reason has ever been put forward as justification of this ideology. Indeed the self-same Minister admitted to Parliament that there was no problem with licensed firearm owners.

The Act Ideology of Gun Control

The ideology of gun control regardless of the cost in financial and human life terms is clear from the documents, attitude and methology of all those concerned with the formulation and drafting of the Act. It appears that the very fact that government thinks that "to many own firearms" is the driving force behind what is clearly a policy of hindrance and obstruction to firearm ownership of such a degree that it maybe considered an almost complete firearms ban.

It is admitted by the police that they have insufficient records of the number of licensed firearms used in crime. Therefore the presumption that control of licensed firearms is ipso-facto the control of illegal firearms is without evidence of police statistics. It is therefor an ideological belief of gun control organisations and government that has no place in legislation. That dreams and pure conjecture can be combined to form the basis of legislation defies reason and logic.

The Validity of the Act

A great deal of time and trouble has been spent by the Department of Safety and Security in convincing government structures with gun control propaganda, gun control "experts" and gun control advocates by combining irrelevant facts and figures with emotional argument in an appeal to save lives. When in reality the evidence that lives will be saved is totally lacking or has not been proved. Further the experience of every country, state or town that has enacted such legislation as been the dramatic increase of all crime and consequent loss of lives. Studies by the US government and independent researchers including the CDC have all come to the same conclusion. There is no known benefit to gun control. The SAPS can hardly expect to claim unawareness of this fact unless incompetence and abject ignorance is also claimed.

Safety and Security have ignored every study and every example of the failed policy of gun control in reducing crime or the supply of guns to criminals. They have neither studied the problem of crime control in a holistic manner examining all facts and presenting honest argument of the failings of any control measures or argument for the lack of control measures. How then is it possible to draw up legislation that will impact on the life and well being of every citizen in South Africa without proper examination of all the facts available?

Citizen Safety?

It is therefor incumbent on the drafters and promoters of the FCA that each and every requirement be based on fact. That no requirement may endanger the lives of citizens above and beyond what can be expected of a safe and secure society. Government and the SAPS have blatantly ignored the safety of citizens and its constitutional requirement and this practice must cease immediately.

Unrealistic Requirementsa of the Act

Registration of firearms

New Zealand police have on more than one occasion examined the cost benefit of firearm registration and have yet to find a benefit. This is confirmed by New Zealand firearms expert John Howatt.in a submission to the New Zealand government on firearm legislation. Australia carried out two examinations ( Waterman and Newgreen), both came to the same conclusion as did a similar investigation in England by Chief Insp Colin Greenwood of the West Yorkshire Constabulary.

Extracts from Waterman:, Greenwood and Newgreen

Victoria Police College Inspectors, course No. 51 - 1986
Research lecture paper, Firearms – is it a police responsibility
Prepared by S. W. Waterman Senior Sergent 15548

Reason Why No Controls 44.

Although some members of the community expressed concern at the lack of firearm legislation, members of the Australian Firearm Law Institute conducted a comparison test between Queensland, West Australia and the Northern Territory who have had licensing and registration procedures dating back to 1950. West Australia was selected because it has the longest history of restrictive legislation in Australia. It was found after comparing the three states, two with severe restrictions on firearms and the other with almost no restrictions that there was very little difference between them and that in almost every component Queensland fared slightly better. On this basis alone it was decided not to introduce licensing shooters or registration. (15)

Ref (15) Firearms Control. Carl G. Vandal. Australian Firearm Law Institute 1984, reprint. p.7.

Comment 45.

The same survey showed that if the Queensland Government were to introduce licensing of firearm owners and register those firearms then they would effectively require a further 282 personnel and that the total cost of implementing such a scheme would be in excess of six million dollars. The Government felt that to introduce such a scheme would reduce the effective strength of the Police Force by 6½ per cent. The Government concluded that in Queenslands case it was not cost effective to introduce restrictive firearms legislation.

Colin Greenwood

Can the task of Registration be effectively carried out 99.

The research carried out in relation to the viability of firearm registration strongly indicates that the exercise is costly, inaccurate and ineffective. This is borne out by the fact that it has been abandoned in such places as New Zealand and in very recent times about to be abandoned in South Australia. One of foremost authorities on British Firearms Legislation the former Chief Inspector Colin Greenwood had this to say in relation to registration:-

"Careful examination of the evidence available suggests therefore Legislation has failed to bring under control substantial numbers of firearms and that it certainly cannot be claimed that strict controls have reduced the number of firearms in crime. On the basis of these facts it might be argued that firearms registration has little effect and don't justify the amount of-police time involved."


A. NEWGREEN/Chief Inspector, Registrar of Firearms.
VICTORIA POLICE
Firearms Registry,
317 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, 3000.
26th February 1987

27. If one is to achieve a proper balance, I am of the opinion that the Firearms Act should -

(a) Repress the criminal and irresponsible use of firearms ;
(b) Look after the public interest ; and
(c) Not place harsh restrictions on responsible and mature sports shooters, whilst at the same time educating the public, particularly Juniors, in the safe use and handling of firearms.

I do not believe registration is the answer to the problem.

RECOMMENDATION

28. I would therefore recommend that Firearms Registration be forthwith abolished, and together with the Firearms Consultative Committee a far reaching, effective, and proper system of education be introduced, as a pre-requisite to the obtaining of a shooter's licence.

29. In conjunction with education, the penalties for those who breach the law should be heavily increased.


The Canadian experience

Canadian officials in an ideological attempt to register firearms owners estimated that this would cost $80,000,000. Currently the Canadian government has spent nearly CDN$2,000 million and is only half complete. When finished this would have cost the Canadian tax payer more than $1600 each. The number of people working on it is enough to fill a village. The Canadian register already shows considerable inaccuracy due to inefficient and incompetent workers.

In Canada, handguns have been strictly registered since 1934, sixty-one years later in 1995 the Department of Justice admitted that they could not identify a single instance where the handgun registry had ever “helped” solve a crime.

Can Registration work

In order to use a registry to “link” a crime gun to a particular criminal all of the following things must be true:

the gun must be left behind at the scene of the crime, or otherwise recovered;
the gun must be linked to the crime by being found at the scene or by ballistic evidence;
the criminal must have registered the gun, using his true name and identity;
the gun was not stolen, which would break the link between gun and owner leaving the criminal unidentified; and
the criminal who was the registered crime gun’s owner did not claim that the gun had been stolen or lost prior to the crime.

The Canadian experience indicates a cost benefit ratio less than 0.015 of 1%. for registration. That is a value of R150 for every R1000,000 spent. The South African Firearms Registry must immediately reveal its cost efficiency in terms of value as a violent crime fighting tool..

There is absolutely no doubt that criminals do not register their firearms. For the CFR to work it requires that criminals both register their firearms and leave them behind at the crime scene. It should be noted that criminals thus far have not been stupid enough to comply with these requirements.

The provisions of this legislation are far over and above that of Canada and there is no doubt that implementation of this requirement will become a very large stone around governments short of funds neck. It is doubtful that even 0.001% of crime will be solved by this idealistic recording. Many policemen will be removed from normal police duty and many police man-hours will be wasted in recording, checking and bureaucratic paperwork that will not bring criminals to justice.

Such a structure gobbles up enormous amounts of money better spent on tried and tested effort to reduce crime. The Canadian experience should be painfully prominent in the minds of Safety and Security and the SAPS and the waste by CFR of resources and funds can hardly be unknown to both SAPS and Safety and Security.

Government and the SAPS have no evidence to show that registration serves any useful purpose. Registration is a huge waste of both money and resources. Until such time as it can be shown to be economically viable and serve a crime fighting purpose in line with its costs the SAPS registration of firearms should cease.

Training and competency

There is no evidence to suggest that training will improve what is already an exemplary record of safety.

The most likely indicator of a lack of training or competency is accidents and accidental deaths from firearms. This figure, although not current because government does not release such statistics is very low and in the order of less than ten (10) per year from some 3 million licensed firearm owners and probably a similar number of illegal firearm owners. Giving a reflection of safety achieved by an untrained total of at least 3.5 to 6 million firearm owners. Further training would not reduce the already low figure of accidental death from firearms. It should be noted that the USA has no mandated training or requirements of competency for firearm ownership and has a similar low figure for accidental firearm deaths as does Switzerland. Please note the national sport of Switzerland is shooting and this country per capita shoots more than any other. Training is only mandated for males and that is Military Training, not for firearm safety but to prepare them to defend the country.

While gun control, government and the SAPS have been at pains to paint firearm owners as incompetent this is no more than a propaganda technique to justify the measures introduced. There is and never has been any valid evidence presented to suggest that firearm owners are incompetent or irresponsible. The SAPS are invited to submit any such evidence claimed for public scrutiny. Until such time as this evidence can be produced the lies and blatant propaganda should cease.

What is the value of training?

The training requirement is simply a measure introduced as an impediment to firearm ownership and serves no useful purpose to society or policing. As such it should be removed entirely. It is a ridiculous to expect any state department to operate efficiently, without corruption and deliver a complex service. Giving such a service arbitrary powers of rejection of certificates is simply a ploy by SAPS to introduce a system of disarmament. Since the SAPS claim that the FCA is not a disarmament program there should be no difficulty in removing this proven unnecessary requirement and that is what should be done.

Safekeeping

It should be noted that one of the most prevalent crimes in South Africa is that of vehicle theft. The SAPS have yet to suggest to vehicle owners that better safekeeping would reduce theft or subsequent crime in which a stolen motor vehicle is used. Crime and its prevalence is a government responsibility that cannot be solved by shirking this responsibility and blaming the victims of crime for the crime.

There is little to suggest that safekeeping requirements have reduced theft of firearms nor have the SAPS ever presented any facts or figures to support this measure. Since it is well within the power of the SAPS to do so, until such time as a benefit for mandated safes for safekeeping can be proved by the SAPS this requirement should be removed.

The same lack of evidence is a hallmark of other gun control claims for accidental deaths, social violence, child deaths, murder and suicide.

Can the Firearms Control Act work?

It is evident that SAPS registration and control of firearms is purely political and has no validity as a crime fighting tool what-so-ever. It is high time the SAPS stopped acting as a government political arm and fulfilled its duty to citizens of combating crime.
"Two memorials remain today at Thermoplylae. Upon the modern one is engraved his response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms. Leonidas' reply was two words, Molon Labe. 'Come and get them'."
crimefree
 
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