5 ways parliament wants to tighten gun control in South Africa

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, has called for the introduction of further measures to stop the use of firearms by criminals in violent crime.

In a statement released by parliament on Wednesday (16 May), Beukman said that recent incidents of cash-in transit heists and brazen robberies where high-calibre automatic firearms were used was of a great cause of concern to the committee.

“The high incidents of gun deaths on the Cape Flats, especially of young children, should be tackled head-on by the relevant law-enforcement agencies,” Beukman said.

The portfolio committee believes the following five steps should be prioritised if the police are to be effective in dealing with the proliferation of guns:

  • Channel more resources to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s specialised unit focusing on illegal fire-arms.
  • Implement more projects and network operations initiated by crime intelligence to deal with gun smuggling by criminal syndicates.
  • Enforce stricter control measures in South African Police Services (Saps) stores and stations, and also in the arms supply of the South African National Defence Force.
  • Ensure closer cooperation with other South African Development Community countries to deal with the proliferation and inflow of high calibre automatic firearms in the region.
  • Conduct a full-scale review of the Firearms Registry turn-around strategy and a forensic audit of high-risk areas in the licencing of firearms, as well as permits and authorisations.

The Portfolio Committee said that the long-awaited Firearms Amendment Bill should be tabled as soon as possible.

With a version of the bill having existed as far back as 2006, a more recent 2015 iteration of the bill calls for a number of amendments to current gun laws in the country – including much stricter regulations on ownership and sale of guns in the country,

Beukman emphasised that the high rate of gun-related deaths warrants an increase in efforts to deal with the proliferation of illegal firearms by South African law-enforcement agencies.

“There is also a huge responsibly on citizens to report any information about the ownership of illegal guns to the Saps,” he said.

Read: How much it costs Cape Town to set up CCTV – and how successful they are at stopping crime

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5 ways parliament wants to tighten gun control in South Africa