THE SOUTH AFRICAN FIREARMS ACT AND THE LAW – SELF DEFENCE
Many things are illegal in South Africa in fact it is unlawful to cut your lawn with a lawnmower on a sunday (public noise disturbance)
In terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993, as amended by the Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013, no person may at a gathering or demonstration as defined in the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993, have in his or her possession: any dangerous weapon » a firearm » any object which resembles a firearm and that is likely to be mistaken for a firearm. It is a criminal offence to be in possession of any such item at a gathering
To possess a co2 powered device that could save your life is not illegal, the irresponsible use of one would be as is the case with a actual fire arm
It is also against the law to point a firearm at someone without the intent to use it.
We Do not advertise Non Lethal they are Less Lethal
less-lethal weapons, less-than-lethal weapons, non-deadly weapons, compliance weapons, or pain-inducing weapons are weapons intended to be less likely to kill a living target than conventional weapons such as knives and firearms. It is often understood that unintended or incidental casualties are risked wherever force is applied, but non-lethal weapons try to minimise the risk as much as possible. Non-lethal weapons are used in policing and combat situations to limit the escalation of conflict where employment of lethal force is prohibited or undesirable, where rules of engagement require minimum casualties, or where policy restricts the use of conventional force.
Non-lethal weapons may be used by conventional military in a range of missions across the force continuum. They may also be used by military police, by United Nations forces, and by occupation forces for peacekeeping and stability operations. Non-lethal weapons may also be used to channelize a battlefield, control the movement of civilian populations, or to limit civilian access to restricted areas (as they were utilized by the USMC’s 1st Marine Expeditionary Forcein Somalia in 1995). When used by police forces domestically, similar weapons, tactics, techniques and procedures are often called “less lethal” or “less than lethal” and are employed in riot control, prisoner control, crowd control, refugee control, and self-defense.
South African law gives far more leeway to the use of force in self defence than many other countries. Anyone can respond with force if their life is in danger.
The attacker does not necessarily have to be carrying a weapon: if you fear injury or death, you can use the most extreme means, including killing the assailant.
There is no balancing of weapons. If, for example, the attacker is carrying a knife and his target happens to have a firearm, the intended victim would be entitled to shoot that person dead.
South African law also states that you can defend somebody else if there is a possibility of serious injury or death. You are entitled to intervene and even kill the attacker. You do not have to be in a family or any other kind of relationship to the victim.
If somebody breaks into your house, you are entitled to kill that person under certain circumstances. If the burglar runs away and you kill that person anyway, you could be exceeding the bounds of self-defence. If, however, you are faced with a situation where you fear for your life or safety, you would be entitled to kill the intruder.
South African courts understand that these scenarios happen very quickly, usually at night. A householder cannot sit down and decide objectively exactly what should be done. You could reasonably expect any intruder to be armed and capable of doing you harm. The courts tend to accept a broad definition of self-defence.
Furthermore the Firearm act for self defense is relevant for this topic of less lethal protection
A firearm is a portable gun (a barreled ranged weapon) that inflicts damage on targets by launching one or more projectiles driven by rapidly expanding high-pressure gas produced by exothermic combustion (deflagration) of propellantwithin an ammunition cartridge. If gas pressurization is not achieved via propellant combustion but through mechanical gas compression, then the gun is technically an air gun, not a firearm.
A dangerous weapon is very broad, sharpening a plastic teaspoon may be considered a dangerous weapon.
In My opinion for South Africa where riot, home invasions and murders are simply getting out of control certain “Paintballguns” are the perfect “Weapon” to defend yourself – when used with the correct munition
Many law enforcement officers ,Police, Military and SWAT groups use and practice Less Lethal defence – preserving life is the main idea.
Non-lethal weapons, also called less-lethal weapons, less-than-lethal weapons, non-deadly weapons, compliance weapons, or pain-inducing weapons are weapons intended to be less likely to kill a living target than conventional weapons such as knives and firearms.
The legal description of private defence (or self-defence) is fairly straight-forward. According to Burchell and Milton’s Principles of Criminal Law (2005), private self-defence is when:
“A person who is the victim of an unlawful attack upon person, property or other recognised legal interest may resort to force to repel such attack. Any harm or damage inflicted upon an aggressor in the court of such private defence is not unlawful.“1
In practice it’s not so simple. When it comes to our courts, there are many more factors taken into account in order to declare an act of self-defence as legal. In most self-defence cases, a judge will apply the Reasonable Man Test – would any reasonable person have done the same in a similar situation?
THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
In order for you to justify your act of self-defence, the following legal requirements will have to be met and proven:
The attack was already in the process or an attack was imminent.
The attack was unlawful.
You were protecting your life, your physical wellbeing, property, personal freedom, your dignity or sexual integrity.
The act of self-defence was necessary to prevent the attack from escalating.
Your act of self-defence was directed toward the attacker.
The act of self-defence was reasonable and proportionate to the circumstances.
You didn’t have any time to resort to a different, less violent form of protecting yourself and your interests.
These same legal requirements apply when you defend someone else against an attacker.
A so-called pre-emptive strike (such as shooting an intruder before they’ve done anything to threaten you) is regarded as illegal. Fear is simply not enough reason to act in self-defence during a home invasion. Once again, you need to meet the above legal requirements in order for a court to consider your claim of self-defence
At then end of the day it is entirely your decision to go the route you feel most comfortable with.
“It’s when the discomfort strikes that they realize a strong mind is the most powerful weapon of all.”
Less Lethal Pty.Ltd is integrated into Xtreme Paintball as one company.
BIO: Neutralizing conflict situations, while preserving life with Less Lethal solutions instead of deadly force.
The Following segment was written by “Casualty” to explain the new act in layman’s terms and also will be including direct quotes from the law books so here goes. This Act came into power on January 2nd 2014.
The definition of a dangerous weapon according to the new act reads as follows:
“A dangerous weapon” means any object, other than a fire arm, capable of causing death or inflicting serious bodily harm, IF IT WERE USED FOR AN UNLAWFUL PURPOSE”
So to break this down it means ANY OBJECT other than a fire arm (these are governed under The fire arms act) which is CAPABLE OF CAUSING DEATH OR SERIOUS INJURY to a person IF USED IN AN UNLAWFUL MANNER.
So as I stated in the opening even a plastic bag if used to strangle someone could be classified as a dangerous weapon. The same goes for a drinking glass or even a shoe it all depends in the manner it is used and weather it is being done legally or illegally.
Now I know you’re sitting there thinking my marker is a dangerous weapon and the sport is going to die because of this new legislation but fear not as there are exceptions to this act as it does not apply to the following:
a) Possession of dangerous weapons in pursuit of any LAWFUL EMPLOYMENT,DUTY OR ACTIVITY
B) Possession of dangerous weapons during the participation in any religious or cultural activities OR LAWFUL SPORT, RECREATION OR ENTERTAINMENT or
C) As part of a legitimate collection , display or exhibition of weapons
Now this right here is what covers us , but keep in mind that if you are going to stand in your yard in a suburb shooting at tin targets (just an example) this would be illegal as the discharge of any air rifle or paintball marker is prohibited by local statutes and you could face a fine or even confiscation of your marker , in fact if somehow you were to shoot over the target and hit a passing person you could be charged with a whole bunch of things ranging from assault with a dangerous weapon, contravening the dangerous weapons act and even a charge as serious as pointing of a fire arm, yes you read right, you could be charged for pointing of a fire arm if you point your marker at a person and they open a case against you. Yes a paintball marker is not a fire arm BUT the act regarding to pointing of a fire arm states that if the victim truly believed that you were pointing a real fire arm at them you could be found guilty.
So now that you understand the act you are wondering how do I protect myself and my gear from being confiscated accidentally due to a miss understanding well that’s the easy part its rather simple and most players are already doing this.
A) Never carry an assembled marker in public, always have your marker in a concealed bag or marker bag DO NOT take it out unless you are in your own house or a friends house or at a paintball field
B) Do not fire your marker unless at a paintball field or if working on it in a safe environment
C) Costume parties are fun but leave your marker at home accidents happen way to fast
D) Use common sense if you are transporting your marker to a shop,event or camping area/lodge/hotel try and keep it disassembled and in a bag out of the public view in the case of mils markers and /or airsoft markers try and have a business card of the field or contact number for event staff in case you get pulled over and questioned as to the reason for being in possession of said markers
E) Last but not least in the event you are confronted by law enforcement relax and give co-operation if you were not doing anything illegal you shouldn’t have to worry at all how ever if you were doing something illegal using a paintball or airsoft marker I have no mercy and think you should feel the full force of the law. As according to the Amendment of section 120 (10) of the Firearms control act ,2000( ACT 60 of 2000)
“It is an offence to be in possession of any fire arm, arraign,deactivated firearm, muzzle loading firearm, or imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence or to use in an effort to resist arrest or prevent the arrest of another person”
Any person who contravenes the provisions of sec 120 (10) (b) of the fire arms control act, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding but up to twenty five years.
With all this in mind it is important to apply your mind in a responsible and accountable manner in such a way that you prevent any unnecessary judicial proceeding and /or negative publicity for our sport.
Sources- SOUTH AFRICA. 201 ACT NO. 15 of 2013 DANGEROUS WEAPONS ACT, 2013.
SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE. CIRCULAR 1/1/4/1 (10) ENTRY INTO FORCE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW DANGEROUS WEAPONS ACT, 2013