Originally posted by BurtonRW:
We have absolutely no restrictions on membership and participation from other countries. In fact, you're about to get peppered with questions about gun laws and the shooting sports in SA, so I might as well get started...
What are the gun laws like in SA? How about the shooting sports?
Apologies about the late reply, blame the time difference :-)
Where do I start? Gun legislation used to be reasonable, but these days (since around 2000, in fact) its a mission getting a new firearm licence.
You are licensed according to category, e.g. self defense, sport shooting, collector, hunter, gun dealer etc. To get a licence, you have to jump through many loops, including competency tests and some membership proof of a rifle associations or sport shooting club, plus you have to have acceptable storage (built-in safe), have a motivation to need a weapon, which you need to substantiate on every point. So, if you want to become a hunter but never hunted you are not going to easily get a licence. And a hunter licence does not mean you will get a self-defense licence - you need both if you want both. If they think you do not need to defend yourself, you won't get a licence.
Licences are also gun specific, i.e. you cannot for example get a new barrel on the same licence as the numbers will differ. Once you have a licence, you are allowed to carry the weapon on you (and expected to if its not in the approved safe, if you loose it, big trouble).
Then, if successful, you have to jump through all these loops again as licences are time limited. For example, a licence for self defense is only valid for 5 years, for hunting 10 years, and so on.
Which all may seem reasonable from a helicopter perspective - after all, responsible gun ownership is a given - but up close, its a nightmare. This is essentially a third world country so the police (who administers the gun licensing system) are, lets put it delicately, not really up to the task, for a variety of reasons, ranging from administrative incompetence to political imperatives and ideals.
Of course, the overarching selling argument is that less guns means a safer society, which I think most reasonable people will agree is nonsense as criminals do not ascribe to the same values law abiding citizens do. So, only the criminals end up being armed. To give a truly bizarre example, when the new weapons legislation came into effect, there was a grace period within which to apply for new licences and/or forfeit existing weapons to the State (without compensation, by the way). Many people consequently forfeited legally held weapons, and lo and behold, many of these weapons then ended up in the hands of criminals. Where did they get it? From corrupt police officers, believe it or not. (See https://www.dailymaverick.co.z...s-and-right-wingers/
) And that is only an example..
So, in practice, many law-abiding people simply do not even bother anymore applying for weapons licences, its just too onerous.
Which brings me to my own situation - fortunately, in implementing the new weapons legislation, a few critical constitutional rights were disregarded, which led to some court cases, and in practice it means that licences issued prior to the new legislation are still valid and did not lapse, for the moment. The powers that be are not very happy about that, and there are ongoing court cases (driven by the rifle association(s).
So for the time being I don't have to jump trough all these hoops... :-)
Otherwise most disciplines on the shooting sports side are still alive and well, especially also on the rifle side, and hunting has always almost been a way of life for many people and continues to thrive with excellent hunting opportunities both here and in the neighbouring countries (e.g. Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe), as many forum members will no doubt attest to.