Howdy from Texas, Have'nt heard from you in a while and thought
I would see how you are doing. I've been working like a Hebrew slave with most of our staff gone. Beats not being employed though. But I could really use a vacation. I'm getting burnt out working six or seven days a week. At least my cast is off. Talk to you soon.
Sorry I have taken so long to get back to you - I'm on GT all the time but never really bothered to look for PM's in the past.
With regards to your question... In a quick answer - not really anymore. Compared to the general US we've always had relatively strict gun laws. Registration etc. but one would be able to buy a any gun (except full-autos), get a license for it in about 2-3 weeks and be able to carry it concealed. There were also no restrictions on things like silencers, ammo and the amount of guns one could own. Each gun had to have its own license though and that took about two weeks to obtain because of criminal record checks etc.
We had it good until recently...
Between 2000-2004 a new law (the firearms control act of 2000) was introduced. It is the absolute worst thing that's ever happened to our freedom and rights. I know this is going to be long and complicated but I'd like to take the trouble of explaining it to you as best I can.
There are now 3 types of licenses: (1) a self defense license - with this license a person can have 1 gun, and one gun only. They can carry the gun concealed and it must be renewed every 5 years. (2) an occasional sports shooter - this enables one to have 4 guns but cannot carry any of them. (3) a dedicated sports shooter - this enables one to have unlimited guns but one cannot carry any of them.
The problem is a license generally takes a minimum of two years to get. There isn't any point in me even saying that because in reality it actually takes 3-6 years, and there is more chance that you won't get it. Woman have been rejected and told "You have a husband to protect you" and I know 23-27 year olds that have been rejected for being too "young" - even though the law states that one may obtain a license at 21.
In reality a self defense license is almost unobtainable - one is required to motivate reasons for needing one and our firearms registrar never thinks anyone's reasoning is worthy. Besides the fact that the required training and safe inspections can easily cost in excess of R1000 ($150).
The thing is - the antis know that our constitution allows us the right to protect our lives. They are saying that one can still own guns etc. but it is absolute rubbish. One is hardly ever granted a license - and it takes years to get a yes or no.
We do have some hope though. This new law required that all old licenses be renewed. But the previous licenses were "licenses for life" and our NPA (basically your supreme court) cannot find a way to prosecute current license holders because a license for life is exactly that - a license for life and not a license for life until the government decides that it isn't anymore, and so every time they make a deadline for renewals it gets extended. The few of us left with hope are fighting it hard though and we have some great organizations like SAGA, GOSA and the NRA to a certain extent. I hope we can get it thrown out because I turn 21 next year and have a long shopping list - I just might have to move to the US one day to be able to buy what I want.
One last thing to give you a better idea of gun control/crime here. We have one of/if not the most beautiful countries in the world (let me know if you ever want to visit) and it is being ruined by crime and corrupt politicians. We have over 50 000 murders a year and our population is about 1/6 of the size of the US! To give you an idea about gun control - between 1994 (when apartheid was abolished) and 2000, the crime rate dropped by more than 20%. Gun ownership rose by more than 60% though because in 1994 black people were now allowed to buy guns for the first time in years. Since 2000 when this pathetic law started to be implemented crime has risen by massive numbers - yet the government ignores this obviously. It is very sad because we have an enormous and amazing wildlife/hunting culture that is being ruined by these bastards.
Welcome to Gt
I always enjoy talking with people from different backgrounds.
I have never been able to understand the guns of your country. Can you own or carry anything for your defense? Good post, too.