2010-07-05: Inquiry into Central Firearm Registry

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2010-07-05: Inquiry into Central Firearm Registry

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2010-07-05 14:36

Gun Owners of South Africa (GOSA) Press Release: 2010-07-05 : Inquiry into functioning of Central Firearm Registry.

Gun Owners of South Africa have been invited to make submissions to an inquiry into the functioning of the South African Police Service's Central Firearms Registry.

The Minister of Police, Mr E.N. Mthethwa MP has requested the Civilian Secretariat for Police to assess the implementation of the Firearms Control Act, 2000.

True to the understanding of the SAPS of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of 2000 the invitation was sent out 25 June with the deadline being 30 June 2010.

Canadian Long-gun Registry an expensive failure

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation the Canadian long-gun registry, touted in 1995 to cost $85 million to operate, is now up to an estimated $2 billion and counting.

The Canadian registry is the blue-print for South Africa's Firearms Control Act.

Canada's Auditor General Sheila Fraser tried to keep her eye on the purse strings.

Fraser audited the Canadian long gun registry in 2002 and reviewed her audit in 2006. When the gun registry was first introduced in 1995, the Canadian government promised it would cost approximately $2 million to taxpayers to implement over five years. In her 2002 audit, however, the Auditor General of Canada reported that the program's costs had skyrocketed to more than $600 million and moreover, due to a lack of solid financial information, that is, the government was hiding costs, she believed this figure did not fairly represent the true costs of the program.

On November 4th, Canadian MPs voted 164 to 137 across party lines to bring the wasteful long-gun registry to an end.

Firearms Control Act of 2000 unconstitutional

It is a year since the Pretoria High Court stayed prosecution of gunowners who refused to comply with the unconstitutional Firearms Control Act. Before that, gunowners had faced a massive intimidation campaign that included threats via the media of 15 years imprisonment of gunowners who did not renew gun licences.

The most salient points in the Judgement in the case of the SAHunters and Game Conservation Association vs The Minister of Safety & Security are that:

- There is a strong prima facie case that the Firearms Control Act may be unreasonable and unconstitutional
- There are massive problems implementing the Act
- The SAPS does not have the capacity to process thousands of applications
- The SAPS' failure to deal with applications within a reasonable time is unconstitutional
- It is glaringly obvious that the SAPD doesn't have the means to deal with the burden placed on it
- The SAPS did not deny they are guilty of unlawful administrative action.
- Prospects that the SAHGCA will be successful in the main application are good
- The SAPS could offer no evidence that legal firearms are a problem or are used in violent crime
- Gun owners' rights far outweigh any inconvenience for the SAPS

Chaos at Central Firearm Registry

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's Department has had a year's respite to sort out the chaotic implementation of the Firearms Control Act. Indeed, one would have expected feedback by now that the maladministration of the Firearms Register has been rectified and the 5-year renewal backlogs wiped out

Sadly, that has not been the case.

One would have expected regular updates, departing from a forensic audit, of the Billion-Rand Black Hole FCA, from our own Auditor General. When the implementation of the Canadian blueprint for the FCA started spelling disaster their Auditor General did her duty.

According to S181 of our Constitution the Auditor-General must be impartial and must exercise its powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice. The Constitution further requires the Auditor-General to audit and report on the accounts, financial statements and financial management of all national and provincial state departments and administrations...

What about the administration of gun licences?

The FCA was enacted in 2000. Implementation started in 2004. Not one cent in compensation has been paid for surrendered firearms. The second round of gun license renewals should have started, again, by now.

External Audit Required

Given the unfortunate predicament we now find ourselves in GOSA is of the opinion that an internal inquiry or task team approach would not be sufficient to instill lost confidence in the spectacular failure in implementation of the Firearms Control Act.

Were this issue to be faced by any other department or organ of State, the correct approach would be to appoint an outside body which is above reproach to conduct a detailed forensic audit of the Act and the implementation thereof.

Minister Mthethwa, the country needs to know how much this Act has cost them.

Just how much has been diverted away from effective policing to fund the spectacular failure in implementation of the Firearms Control Act?

Brett Nortje
Exco Member
Gun Owners of South Africa
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