The FCA of 2000 as amended to 2015 contains less than clear language with regards to airguns, most of it was conceived with 19th and 20th century technology in mind. Everybody from airgunners to dealers, lawyers to the CFR themselves are tripped up by it.
If not in law then certainly as a matter of idealism, the government, the general public and to a large extent the management of the CFR are anti or at the very least antagonistic toward private gun ownership in South Africa. SAPS and the CFR have been taken to court numerous times for trying implement anti gun owner rules or laws that don't exist. What follows below does at all times take this reality into account and therefore tries to be realistic in what can be achieved in such a climate.
It's time to get our house in order before someone who does not have our best interests in mind does it for us.
The 5.5mm/.22 calibre confusion must be fixed. The law says "5.6mm/.22", the vast majority of airgun manufacturers stamp .22 on 5.5mm calibre airguns putting owners of same on dangerous ground. This is marketing nonsense and must be rectified.
5.6mm/.22 is not a big bore airgun calibre.
The FCA does not define a big bore airgun at all making it very difficult to licence same.
Most DFOs trip up on Chapter 3, Section 5.
The DFOs have very little knowledge of the law they are supposed to be administering.
The CFR does not have a formal mechanism to licence big bore airguns as they do for powder burners.
The CFR has only one big bore airgun calibre in its database.
The muzzle energy provisions in the FCA are antiquated and have almost zero relevance to modern airguns.
SAPS will never have a practical method for testing muzzle energy at Customs, DFO or Patrol level.
Amend the law so that big bore airguns are properly defined in the FCA.
Amend the law so that the mooted big bore airgun definition is listed in Chapter 6.
Amend the law so that the base big bore airgun calibre starts at .243/6.17mm (a firearm calibre that SAPS understands well) thereby also removing the .22 problem.
Update the CFR database to include all the common modern big bore airgun calibres.
Remove the muzzle energy provisions from the FCA.
Anything to declare?:
In April of this year in a private capacity I submitted to the Office of the Chief State Law Adviser (the guys that actually draft our legislation and amendments thereto into law) and SAPS proposals based on the above solutions. The OCSLA was at least receptive and did engage in some dialog with me. SAPS was silent but I was told that it was in the hands of an unnamed Brigadier.
The Road Ahead:
Recently a new CHASA ( CHASA - Home ) affiliate was formed, SA Veld / Field Sports ( S A Veld / Field Sport | Home of South African Field Sport ). One of SA Field Sports' aims is to host formal big bore airgun benchrest competitions for licensed owners of same (all 5 of them ), recognizing that should they pull it off, they would be the ideal vehicle for big bore airgun licence applicants to apply via the dedicated sportsman channel, I engaged with their vice chairman, Philip Viljoen and presented to him the proposals embedded below (which now includes some of his suggestions). The upshot is that on Thursday, 5 October these proposals will be tabled at their EXCO meeting. Should the proposals find favour with them then CHASA will via their seat on the parliamentary CFR committee, table same and motivate for changes to the law iro of airguns.
Vox populi - TL;DR:
Current airgun laws are old and stupid, let's hear your ideas on what and how they can be fixed.
I did send email to this effect to the main airgun sports shooting bodies a few days ago. Crickets.
Proposed amendments to the FCA