ANC Government Aims to Disarm S.A. Citizens


Christian Action Network has led the campaign to expose and counter the new Firearms Control Bill being sneaked through Parliament by an anonymous Committee. When news of the radical new draft bill was leaked out, UCA swung into action. UCA wrote letters to the editors of most newspapers in the country and also to the Ministry of Safety and Security and opposition leaders. We then organised numerous radio phone-in talk shows on the subject and helped launch Victims Against Crime which mobilised the march to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday 14 July 1999. This protest action received prominent news coverage on SATV, E-TV, SAFM, Radio 786, the Cape Times, Die Burger and other newspapers, radio stations and TV programmes.

Despite the very short notice (most participants had only heard of the march on Tuesday), over one thousand people turned up for the march against crime. The crowd represented a wide cross section of society. The police commented to the organisers how they were impressed with how well organised the march was and how well behaved the participants were. There was a friendly atmosphere, the marchers interacted well with passers-by. Mass quantities of UCA's "The Right to Self Defence" were distributed.

As the appointed spokesman for Victims Against Crime, I presented an eight page memorandum to a representative of the Department of Safety and Security. I emphasised in a speech to the marchers that firearms control is counter productive. Interfering with the rights of law abiding citizens to obtain, own, carry and use firearms for self-defence could only serve the purposes of criminals. I challenged the government to stop harassing law abiding citizens and wasting the precious time of our hard pressed police service. Instead of more intrusive legislation, we need consistent enforcement of existing laws against the 4½ million illegal firearms in the hands of criminals. Disarming the potential victims would make the "working environment" of criminals safer - for crime.

In just 2 weeks, I had given 14 radio and TV interviews on the subject of crime and the right to self-defence. A further march against crime to Parliament is being planned for 11 August. The implications of the proposed Bill are far reaching. The Sunday Times (11 July 99) reported that the Bill would outlaw nine out of ten legally owned firearms. No person would be allowed to own more than one handgun. License fees would jump to R500 per gun and licenses would have to be renewed every 5 years! Strict limits would be placed on barrel length and maximum calibre, and magazine capacities would be limited to nine rounds. No license holder would be allowed to possess more than 100 rounds. Self Defence would no longer be an acceptable reason for owning a firearm. Even more seriously the Bill would effectively remove constitutional guarantees of the presumption of innocence and access to courts. It would deny millions of citizens their constitutional rights to property, privacy and protection. Instead of dealing with the criminals, the Bill would criminalise law abiding citizens for merely possessing the means of self-defence. The provisions for search and seizure without a warrant in the Bill are blatantly unconstitutional and could lead to flagrant abuses of human rights.

You don't have to be a genius to know that criminals prefer defenceless victims. A National Institute of Justice survey of imprisoned criminals found that the one thing criminals fear most isn't the police, prosecution or imprisonment - but victims who turn out to be armed. Firearms are used as much as five times more often for defensive purposes than for criminal purposes. Charlton Heston recently asked the question: "How many innocents aren't murdered, how many daughters aren't raped, how many store keepers aren't robbed and how many pensioners aren't beaten to death simply because they own the life-saving tools of firearms?" Everyday in South Africa dozens of crimes are prevented, hundreds of victims are protected and countless tragedies are averted by armed citizens. Even more citizens aren't murdered, raped, robbed or assaulted because the criminals can't tell who is armed and who isn't. (For documentation, contact: UCA for a free copy of "The Right of Self Defence" UCANEWS - also available in Afrikaans. The book "Holocaust in Rwanda" illustrating the tragic consequences of gun control in that land is avalable for R15 each).

The fact is we are not in heaven yet. We live in a fallen world. Mankind is sinful. Firearms are needed for protection and as a deterrent. Armed citizens save lives, but unarmed citizens can become helpless victims.

Dr. Peter Hammond (Director)

For more information and resources contact:
Christian Action Network
PO Box 23632, Claremont 7735
Tel: (+27 21) 689-4480 Fax: (+27 21) 685-5884
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Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa - 021-689-4481 -
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