The Black Gun Owners’ Association (BGOA) has threatened to sue Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula for R3,2m.

The government was unfairly denying blacks the right to own guns by turning down their applications, BGOA chairman Abios Khoele said.

“It costs a lot of money (getting a licence). First you must buy the firearm for between R4 000 and R5 000. Then you need a safe which costs about R250, revenue stamps which you buy for about R140. Then you must go and train for about R750. At the end they say that they are going to turn your application down.”

Khoele said members’ applications had been turned down for “lack of motivation” — not giving adequate reasons why they needed guns.

He said 16 000 of the organisation’s 30 000 members were prepared to take legal action to recoup the money they had lost to firearm licence applications since 2003.

“All those that are going to sue are those that applied under the old Firearms Control Act, but were refused under the new Act.”

The matter would go to court in Pretoria as soon as attorneys filed the relevant papers.

Khoele said the organisation, which had about 1 000 white members, was established in 2003.

“It was created because so many black people were starting to struggle (to get firearms). In 2003, 80 percent of our applications were turned down, so we formed this organisation.”

About 37 percent of the BGOA’s members were women. “They are also being turned down for the same reasons. Most of them are not married. They have kids, are breadwinners and are afraid of being attacked and raped.

“This government is not concerned about our safety.”

Ministerial spokesman Trevor Bloem was perplexed at the BGOA’s action.

“No citizen is discriminated against, should not be and is not for any reason, including race.”

He said gun licences were awarded on merit and took into account “specific individual factors”.

“It’s difficult for me to understand on what basis they are building their case. If the matter goes to court, the court will decide.”

Khoele said 99 percent of the firearm licence applications by BGOA members last year were turned down.

Police spokesman Director Phuti Setati said: “We don’t know where they are getting those figures. We have invited them to countrywide imbizos — arranged by the SA Police Service and the Ministry of Safety and Security — from November 1, where we will explain how these processes are working.” – Sapa.

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