What is wrong with the FCA
It is common cause that the Firearms Control Act is a contentious, undesired, overly complex, burdensome, resource wasting, unimplementable, unaffordable Act which has not only alienated the police from the public in particular firearm owners but brought the police into disrepute. This Act must be seen holistically and assessed as to the damage it has and will cause not only to the name and reputation of the police but its impact on crime, its ability to aid the function of either crime reduction of reduction of the supply of guns to criminals.
The police in acting as custodians, promoters and enforcers of this Act above their duty and responsibility to the citizens of South Africa have become the object of public doubt and mistrust in their ability and willingness to uphold public safety and security. The Firearms Control Act undermines the very foundations upon which public trust is built in seeking to disarm citizens who daily have to face violent criminals intent on inflicting trauma and depriving them of life, assets and dignity.
While it is understandable that paranoid Parliamentarians who surround themselves with hordes of armed bodyguards, armour plated vehicles and prison like home security find civilian firearm ownership undesirable. That is no reason or excuse for the police to uphold paranoid MPs interests above that of the public. By ignoring the Constitution, common law and the duty the police have to the public and behaving in a manner that suggests that the police are disconnected from the public and unconcerned with public safety has increased mistrust and the low level of co-operation and aid the police receive from the public. The FCA is not the only contributor to this dismal performance of the SAPS but it certainly is one of the major contributors when more than 70% of the public believe they have a right to defend themselves with a firearm as every media survey has shown.
The State cannot guarantee the safety of citizens as it has no means to directly protect each and every citizen. Therefore it is the duty of the State to ensure that citizens own ability to defend themselves is unhindered with laws that would even in a minor manner impede or obstruct citizens ability to do so or to obtain the tools needed.
The state must provide the infrastructure to control crime and ensure crime is punished. Thus a partnership is reached between citizens and State that can last only as long as each understands the role they have to play and carries out the duties each has. When the State fails to uphold its part of the realtionship that is the end of democracy.
It is patently obvious that the public at large have for good reasons lost faith in the State, police and criminal justice system. It is also just as obvious to any criminologist that the police cannot operate at any reasonable degree of efficiency without the help of the public. Sir Robert Peel was at pains to point out the role of the police and how they should treat the public. Quite obviously the State, SAPS and Department of Safety and Security have never read Sir Robert Peels nine principle of policing and have very little idea of what interventions may work and which have no hope of working. Not only must police interventions work to solve and reduce crime but they must be cost effective in returned value.
The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it. ~~ Sir Robert Peel.