Letter Re: Life Under South Africa’s Gun Laws, by Joe Ordinary Voortrekker

This article is a response to a large and glaring preparedness dilemma for myself. Being a law abiding citizen I cannot willfully put myself or my family into a situation where we can be held legally liable for the commission of a crime. If I had a ‘run-in’ with the law because of my beliefs on firearms and freedom, it can and will put my family at risk. Unfortunately we live in a country where the liberty of its
citizens is at the mercy of the State. South Africa is for all intents and purposes a ‘Free and democratic’ country. However, our government is an openly socialist government. They require the dependency of its citizens, every law that is passed is to ensure a more conformist and dependant populace.

One of the laws that was passed was the Firearms Control Act of 2000. It is another of a long stream of attempts to remove the right to bear arms in South Africa. This act and the previous one allow for highly controlled and restrictive legislation. Below, I will give a brief overview of the pertinent points as it relates to the rights of individuals to keep arms. It is however, the root of my dilemma. No
matter how many or types arms I would like to possess, or what types and amounts of ammunition I would like to keep, I am controlled by the State every step of the way with 101 different [regulatory details.]
Before I get to South African firearms legislation, let me give you some insight as to where my thoughts stem from. Basically, after reading through the Profiles of survivalists on SurvivalBlog,
and the recommendations of the most esteemed JWR. I could see no way that I could become ‘squared away’ on the arms and ammunition side. Our laws in South Africa are just too restrictive! That however has changed, as there is a way. All it took was a little bit of lateral thinking and a copy of “Patriots” . Well actually the other way around, the lateral thought came after the second reading of “Patriots”.

In this article I’m going to talk from a South African perspective and relate this information from our view. What I am hoping and intending is that it will get people to think through their firearm purchases and utilize every aspect or at least as many aspects as possible of the law for their own benefit. The South Africa situation may or may not apply to you, however this article is not intended for the US readers of SurvivalBlog, but more to people that live elsewhere and to give them the hope that there is potentially a way. The idea is to think laterally and use the rights that have been allowed you in every way possible.

Here is a brief synopsis of how the South African Firearms laws are applicable to ordinary citizens. For the ‘casual’ owner, people are restricted to a maximum of four firearms. The breakdown is as follows:

  • One Handgun
  • One Shotgun
  • One Rifle (Not Semi Auto) (With associated proof that you hunt)
  • One Casual Sports shooting firearm ([another] one of any of the above)

Only one of the first two (Handgun/Shotgun) may be designated a self defense firearm and there are legal ramifications if you shoot someone in self defense with another firearm. If you are a dedicated
sportsman/hunter/collector you are able to increase your firearm collection, but always under strict monitoring and conditions. And you have to have proof, proof and more proof.

Also we need to re-license every 2, 5, or 10 years depending on the type of license. Along with additional costs, competency tests, fingerprints, home/safe inspection and vetting of you by your family and/or neighbors, etc etc ad nauseam. The way that I see this is that the Government wants the public disarmed, and they are making it harder and harder and a real pain in the sphincter to re-apply for their licenses, so most guys just give up and hand their weapons in.

With Ammo, you may only possess a maximum 200 rounds of any of the calibers that you are licensed for. Possession of a single [loaded] round of any other caliber is illegal unless you are a licensed cartridge collector. (This is another painful exercise, and will not assist in stockpiling ammo) As for components. Bullets, brass cartridge cases and magazines are not regulated. However primers and propellants are. With primers, no more than 2,400 of any size. In addition, so are some spare parts, barrels, sears etc. (BTW, a spare barrel is considered a firearm in South Africa [, since pressurized gun parts are regulated. Effectively, the barrel rather than the frame or receiver is considered the “firearm”])

As an aside, I have watched the debate on concealed carry in the US with interest. In South Africa we are legally bound to carry [handguns] 100% concealed, no open carry, unless you are in Law Enforcement. So the question is with laws like this, how does one stockpile firearms and ammo? And what is the best way to get the maximum out of the minimum we are allowed to possess.
The only way that this can be done is to prepare for possible scenarios that may develop in the future. This is the tack that we have taken:

1) Get legally diversified with the correct calibers.
2) Keep only calibers that allow you to maximize your long term defense potential
3) Stock up on unregulated items that will allow for barter even if it’s not one of your calibers.

Okay, so I just mentioned that one needs to have the correct calibers This is, as everyone knows a very subjective statement. So how did we decide what the correct calibers are? In a scenario where there is true TEOTWAWKI then there will be a source of readily available arms and ammunition. Courtesy of our Law Enforcement and Military. Looking at these services, we see that the following calibers are the most common.

12 Gauge Shotgun,
5.56 NATO (AKA .223)
7.62 NATO (AKA .308)
and 9mm Parabellum (9x19mm [“Luger”]).

My logic and methodology here is to maximize my options in terms of usable and obtainable ‘components’ while still keeping within the framework of our legal system. I have also decided that we will not
apply for further weapons licenses as I do not want nor require the additional infringement of my privacy nor the ‘red flags’ that come with owning a ‘large’ firearms collection. So based on the highest
OPSEC possible in this situation, here is what we have done.

For a handguns I have chosen a .45 ACP my wife a 9mm Parabellum
For shotguns we have both chosen 12 gauge Pump actions
For casual Sports Shooting my wife has chosen a .22 LR pistol, and I have a scoped and suppressed .22LR rifle.
For hunting rifles I have chosen a .308 and my wife a .223
So our choices above keep us [both] at the four gun limit, no additional background checks and gives us a broad spread of calibers that will allow us to store primers, powder, and some ammunition.

On the unregulated side we have and are currently stocking up on the following. Virgin and fired brass in all of the above calibers, in addition to this we add any fired brass that we can scrounge. Various design and weight bullet moulds with the same methodology, factory made bullets in rifle and handgun calibers. Reloading dies, in any and all calibers that we can get. However we do concentrate on the dies for the brass that we have. (There is no point in having dies and no brass.) Cleaning kits and components, and lead and tin stocks, as well as reloading presses. For [rifle and pistol] brass reloading, we have standardized on Lee brand turret presses and the single stage RCBS Rockchucker as most can be had at very reasonable prices on the secondhand market here. For shotgun shell reloading we have standardized on Lee Load All.

Now the logic behind this. If ever the SHTF in a big way, we will be able to drive off most attacks, however if this degenerates into an extended and protracted “Patriots”-like scenario we should have all of the ‘makings’ to use captured weaponry as well as being able to supply and reproduce the correct ammo for such captured weaponry.

There are a few points to remember.
1.) Pressure and primer differences in military and civilian ammo. Know what you are doing or don’t do it!
2.) Always stay within the law, while the law is the law. Becoming an illegal ‘arms hoarder’ will get you into a heap of trouble, which only leaves your family at risk.
3.) OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC don’t brag around the braai (Barbecue) as to what you will do when TSHTF. Or what you have stockpiled, hidden, buried etc. Personally, I find that very few people in South Africa have a preparedness/survivalist mentality. If you start discussing what you are doing be circumspect in every aspect.

Finally, as an aside, Just this last week we were given detailed information about the preps of a ‘new age’ religious Doomer (“The sky is going to fall in 2012”) that lives just outside a small town over
400 kilometers away. This person has told her family about her preps and this news has now traveled all over the country. We now know almost everything that she has done including evacuation and storage details. The family (rightly?) believes she is a nutcase and actively ridicule her preps. [An OPSEC breach like this presents] a very scary scenario.