Module 6

Gun free zones

islands of safety in a sea of guns

Module 6

Gun free zones

islands of safety in a sea of guns

Facts

What is a Gun Free Zone?

A Gun Free Zone (GFZ) is an area where guns and ammunition are neither welcomed nor allowed. The aim is to create a safe space for people to live, learn, work, play, shop and worship. You will recognise that space by the “no-gun” sign.

GFZs can be found in educational institutions such as crèches, schools and universities, in community centres and libraries, in clinics and hospitals, in government buildings, in taverns and shebeens, and even in taxi ranks.

Benefits of a Gun Free Zone:
  • They reduce the risk of gun death and injury. When there are no guns in a space, such as a school or a shebeen, it becomes safer and more secure for everyone in it.
  • They give people who share a space the power to raise their voice about what safety means.
  • To establish a Gun Free Zone, it is important to speak to people using the space as well as other stakeholders in your community, such as the police. This communication can go a long way to making your community safer.
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The difference between Gun Free Zones and Firearm Free Zones
The Firearms Control Act makes provision for Firearm-Free Zones (FFZ). These are somewhat different to the more voluntary GFZ in that they are established and protected by the law and have stricter enforcement and penalties. For example:
  • Only the Minister of Police has the power to declare spaces as FFZs.
  • In FFZs police may without warrant search buildings or individuals, seize firearms and arrest people.
  • It is a criminal offence (not a civil offence as with the GFZs) to contravene the FFZ status of a premises. Anybody found contravening an FFZ will go to court and can face between five years and 25 years imprisonment.
Gun Free Zones and the law
Two types of Gun Free Zones
5 steps to declaring a Gun Free Zone

Did you know?


The difference between Gun Free Zones and Firearm Free Zones
The Firearms Control Act makes provision for Firearm-Free Zones (FFZ). These are somewhat different to the more voluntary GFZ in that they are established and protected by the law and have stricter enforcement and penalties. For example:
  • Only the Minister of Police has the power to declare spaces as FFZs.
  • In FFZs police may without warrant search buildings or individuals, seize firearms and arrest people.
  • It is a criminal offence (not a civil offence as with the GFZs) to contravene the FFZ status of a premises. Anybody found contravening an FFZ will go to court and can face between five years and 25 years imprisonment.

Facts

Facts and figures highlighting the impact of guns and gun violence in South Africa.
 
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Myths

Don’t believe everything you hear about guns. Here are some common myths you should be aware of.
 

Gun Free Zones can only be established by the Minister of Police.

Fact: Any community organisation, business, place of worship, community centre, or sports club can declare their space a Gun Free Zone.

It is enough to just put up signs to make a place a Gun Free Zone.

Fact: Experience, backed by research, shows that the success of declaring a space a Gun Free Zone depends on the buy-in and commitment of the people that use that space. The more people who support the idea of a safe environment without guns, the better.

I have to provide a safe for gun owners in Gun Free Zones.

Fact: There is NO legal obligation to provide a safe for gun owners to store their guns.

Shooters target Gun Free Zones.

Fact: There is no evidence that these zones are targeted by shooters, particularly mass shooters. Mass shootings are directed at a specific person, group or institution with whom the perpetrator has a grievance.

Take Action

Together, we can make a difference to reduce gun violence and help create safer communities for us all.
 

Support gun free zones

Let the owners/managers of Gun Free Zones in your community know that you support this move and that you feel safer in that space.

Start a conversation

Start a conversation with your community group, religious group or with your work colleagues about creating a Gun Free Zone.

Ask for help

Ask for help in setting up Gun Free Zones in your community — contact Gun Free South Africa for training support and materials.

Find out about other gun free zones

Find out about other Gun Free Zones in your area and speak to those involved to get guidance and ideas.
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Our Donors

This publication was made possible with the support of the DG Murray Trust and the Raith Foundation.

 
   

Contact Us

Fax: 086 545 0094

Email: info@gfsa.org.za

Address: Gun Free South Africa,
P.O. Box 3048, Killarney, 2193,
Johannesburg, South Africa

Website: http://www.gfsa.org.za/

Copyright © 2019 Gun Free South Africa. All rights reserved.