Be fair to gun owners

Alan Martheze, South African Gun Owners’ Association

The story “Gun licence hold-up” (Constan-tiaberg Bulletin, February 25) refers.

The heavy-handed directive from the National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane that existing legal firearm owners who have expired licenses must hand them in for destruction, is now heading to court.

The general has gone on an offensive against legal, law-abiding firearm owners stating that these owners were no longer in legal possession of a firearm as they had forgotten to re-apply (a simple, paper process) 90 days before actual renewal and that their heirlooms were now illegal.

This directive is in direct conflict to a court order issued in June 2009 by the Pretoria High Court and is also in conflict with the property clause of the South African Constitution.

How can a government institution confiscate legally obtained “paid for” property (firearm or otherwise) without financial compensation, and if no real crime has been committed?

Not one criminal’s illegal firearm will be handed in, just these new previously legal ones that the State is now grabbing. It’s smoke and mirrors and pretending to get tough on crime. If they can declare any property illegal and take it away from you, where will it all end? When your motor car licence expires, would they crush your car?

Further, does the average citizen out there seriously believe that criminals will obey any enforced gun laws, or even the Utopian “gun free zone signage”?

When Gun Free South Africa says: “Live free, go gun free” maybe they should focus that message at criminals and see what response they achieve.

To add to this poison brew, police stations are threatening citizens (that come in asking for guidance and help in the relicensing process) with criminal prosecution, bully tactics that will be met with High Court action for damages by firearm lawyers. Should any member of the public meet with anything but courteous behaviour as set out by the South African Police Services Code of Conduct which requires that a service be rendered with integrity, courteously and in an accountable manner, they can contact either Martin Hood of MJ Hood and Associates, or Damian Enslin of Michael Matthews and Associates.

The lie being fed to the public by Gun Free South Africa and the police is that criminals obtain most of their firearms as “stolen from the public”. However, research and studies which are not already locked as “state secret” show that the massive majority of these guns are sourced from previous liberation movement stockpiles, or flooding South through our porous national borders or from State institutions such as the army, correctional services, law enforcement and the very same SAPS that want you to hand your guns in to them. The same SAPS that “lose” 66 firearms (including fully automatic assault rifles) a month according to their own figures. And we are the problem? What a fantastic sleight of hand there to dodge the real responsibility.

Disarming the victims is never a real solution to solving crime, and is irreversible once enacted. It is a knee-jerk, liberally-based, over-simplistic and illogical response to rising crime. Once you remove all the legal firearm owners, crime will soar even higher as criminals attack without fear of reprisal. Heed our warnings.