Firearms bill: Public participation emails fail to deliver

More than 17 000 public comments have already been received about the controversial firearms bill. Farmers are concerned that all their email submissions are not delivered to government.

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What is the use of inviting so-called public participation about the Firearms Control Amendment Bill when emails to government simply are not being delivered? This is what Free State farmers want to know after widespread reports of “intermittent delivery failures.”

The bill could bar South Africans from obtaining a gun licence for self-defence and hunting. It has seen major pushback from the agricultural sector since it was opened for public discussion in May.

The draft legislation proposes tighter controls and the establishment of a national firearms register. It also seeks to regulate the issuing of license for hunters with applicants now having to prove that they are actively engaged in the hobby.

Free State Agriculture President Francois Wilken. Photo: Conrad Bornman
Free State Agriculture president Francois Wilken. Photo: Supplied/Conrad Bornman

Free State Agriculture (FSA) tells Food For Mzansi it will not rest until government heard their pleas.

The farmers’ organisation says several failures to deliver complaints via email have been reported. FSA has now sent a letter to the secretary of police expressing concern over the issue.

FSA president Francois Wilken says, “Our members’ and supporters’ voices will be heard and, if required, Free State Agriculture will deliver comments on the Firearms Control Amendment Bill in person.”

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Wilken adds, “Given that the country is still in the grips of the national state of disaster, electronic input is the most significant channel that allows the affected public to have their voices heard. The current situation undermines the whole process.”

Public submissions about the Firearms Control Amendment Bill would be delivered by FSA to the secretariat of police. “We must ensure that the public’s voice is not ignored on this issue.”

ALSO READ: New gun and self-defense rules: ‘Who will protect farmers?’

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