I can assure you (as a South African) that the vending machine in South Africa is a hoax. Gun control in South Africa, despite the reputation as an unsafe and violent country, is actually very well controlled (if you buy from an official source). You have to be licensed before purchasing a gun, and all guns have to be registered, etc. In South Africa, everyone is fingerprinted as part of their identity documents, and again when they purchase a gun license, etc.
To purchase a gun you first need a license, for which you need to (from the SA Govt. website):
- complete a course (gun training)
- pass the test to get a competency certificate
- use that certificate to apply for a license at your local police station
- you need a separate license for each gun that you own
- you need to renew each license every 2 to 10 years, depending on the license type (which in part depends on the firearm itself)
(there is also a FAQ to help you
I struggled to find government-based references for the procedure for purchasing a firearm. A specific store in South Africa has the procedure documented though, and I have found official references to the documents listed.
To purchase a firearm you need:
- proficiency training
- pass the certificate
- select the firearm you want to purchase
- using form SAPS271 (pdf link) get the gun dealer to fill in the details of the firearm you want to purchase (including serial numbers (barrel, frame, receiver)
- take that form to the 'Designated Firearms Officer' at the police station to apply for the license (with your fingerprints, photos, etc.). as well as form SAPS350a - Dealer's Return - Stock Received (pdf) which I believe is the
on-hold form the dealer uses to show you have purchased the firearm, and they are holding it for you until your license is approved.
- Part of the process allows the Police to inspect your house to ensure the designated gun safe you have is adequate, etc. Also to perform background checks, and cross-reference fingerprints, etc.
- Once your license is approved, you can collect the firearm from the dealer.
This process currently takes about 3 months.
Purchasing a gun legally in South Africa is a process that requires time, and collaboration between the gun dealer, the purchaser, and the police.
So, a vending machine selling guns just does not exist.
On the other hand, is the law enforced? Well, yes, unless you go the illegal route....
A thriving, illegal, and anonymous black market does exist though. It is not hard to buy an illegal, unlicensed, and often high-quality gun, if you want to. (no link provided, but I have, in the past, been approached by a person in the street offering to sell me a gun (and other things))
Which is why this 'hoax' is both funny, and sad.