Ban unconditional private ownership of airguns in South Africa

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Operating from Durban and throughout the province of KwaZulu-Natal and beyond, Monkey Helpline rescues in excess of one thousand Vervet Monkeys every year, close to one hundred per month. Injuries range from broken bones, head trauma, massive tissue damage, blindness, life threatening bite wounds, poisoning, burns and more. These injuries are caused by dog bite, being run over by motor cars, shot with lead or steel pellets from air guns, electrocution on non-insulated high voltage power lines and transformers, being trapped or snared, and much more. Common to over eighty percent of the monkeys rescued, for whatever reason, is the presence of lead or steel air gun pellets in various parts of their bodies. These pellets usually cause terrible pain suffering, and many animals, monkeys included, endure a brutally cruel and lingering death when shot into the head, chest or abdomen. Air gun-based violations of the Firearms Control Act and the Animal Protection Act, as well as various relevant provincial laws and municipal bylaws, rarely result in successful prosecutions because, other than the almost impossible to enforce existing legislation, there are no meaningful conditions that need to be complied with if a private individual already owns/possesses or wants to purchase and use an air gun.

Unconditional private ownership of air guns, requiring no license, makes it impossible for the law about the use of air guns to be enforced in any meaningful way. Anybody can possess an air gun, and although the law, in terms of the Firearms Control Act (60 of 2000), places the same restrictions on the use of air guns as it does for firearms and antique firearms, the current system makes it impossible to regulate the use of these dangerous weapons. The result of this unconditional and unregulated ownership/possession of air guns means that among those in possession of these dangerous weapons are many who shoot lead or steel pellets at animals around their home, in their neighbourhood and in public places and on private land.

Your signature on this petition will assist Monkey Helpline in its effort to bring about meaninful changes to ensure that airgun violence against animals due to the unconditional and unregulated use of these weapons, becomes a thing of the past.