By Dr Eugene Brink
There are many dangers in South Africa and attacks on houses and farms are life-threatening risks facing many people.
One possible (and effective) way to beat off the criminals and protect yourself and your family is by using your firearm.
Marnus Kamfer, legal and risk manager at the civil-rights organisation Afriforum’s Community Safety department, says before you may act in self-defence certain conditions must be met. Firstly, a person may protect himself, others or a legal interest against an attack that has already started if such an attack is immediate, threatening and sustained. The attack must also be of an unlawful (wrong) nature.
“The other requirement is that the self-defence action must be necessary for the protection of the endangered interest. It must also be aimed at the attacker, must be reasonably proportionate to the attack and necessary to stop the attack. Lastly, the action must not have come to an end already.”
How must you wear a weapon on you? According to Kamfer section 84 of the Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000) stipulates how firearms may be worn.
“In the case of a hand-gun no person may wear a firearm in a public place if it is not in a holster or similar container designed, manufactured and adapted for wearing a hand-gun and attached to his person; the firearm must also be covered at all times. Otherwise it must be in a back-pack or similar container, but the wearer must at all times have direct control over the firearm.”
In the case of some other firearm it must be worn in a container designed, manufactured and adapted for wearing a firearm and the wearer must once again have full control over the firearm at all times.
Kamfer says if a firearm is not under the owner’s direct control or on his or her person, it must be stored in a safe or other similar storage facility that complies with the regulations of the Act. “If this is not done it is an offence.”
“In terms of section 120(8) of the Act a person is guilty of an offence if he or she neglects to lock up his or her firearm or one in his or her lawful possession in a prescribed strongroom, safe or device for the safekeeping of the firearm. Otherwise the firearm must be worn on his or her person or be in his or her direct control.”