There are one or two fringe organizations active in South Africa, that lay claim to the fact that firearms kill people. It has been stated numerous times that “guns are the problem” and “gun owners cause gun violence”. These claims and statements are however completely false.
Law-abiding citizens and legal firearm owners are not the cause of gun violence – legal firearm owners are citizens who have taken the prescribed steps in order to procure a tool that is most effective at defending human life. It is a fact that thirty people lose their lives by means of a firearm, on a daily basis, but it should be emphasized that these people were not murdered by “guns”, they were murdered by people, criminals who show no regard for human life. Furthermore, it should be emphasized that the firearms used in these crimes are not the firearms which belong to legal firearm owners, these are illegal firearms that have found their way into the hands of ruthless criminals. It is quite frankly nonsensical to state that “poor compliance by gun owners, including exploitation of loopholes in the law to accumulate weapons and ammunition; and fraud and corruption by all stakeholders in the firearms chain, from the police to gun dealers, trainers, associations and owners” is the cause of the high level of gun violence.
Let’s be real. Nobody is going to complete an accredited firearms training course, take the necessary steps to apply for a competency certificate and have their records thoroughly checked, wait some time for any feedback on this application, and then pay quite a substantial amount of money for a firearm and safe, apply for that firearm which has another lengthy turnaround time, wait another several weeks on average to receive the physical licence card which enables the applicant to take possession of that firearm from the dealer, only to commit a crime with a firearm which has been registered to their name. This simply does not happen. There have been cases of training providers falsifying certificates yes, however, the PFTC has made sure that any fraudulent academies be shut down, and any applicant who received fraudulent certificates had to redo an accredited course through a straight-edge training provider. Regarding corruption within SAPS, relating to firearms, you cannot blame legal firearm owners. SAPS has become notoriously known as the number one supplier of illegal firearms – these firearms are most commonly firearms which once belonged to legal firearm owners that were given up for destruction. Firearms are not coming straight from the licensed owner to the criminals’ hands.
Yes, there have been cases of armed robberies and home invasions where armed robbers took possession of the victims’ firearms after they had overpowered them, but this once again does not necessarily mean that the legal firearm owner has been negligent with the safekeeping of these firearms. Criminals do not abide by laws; they will do anything in their power to get their way.
Another false statement is that firearm dealers and other pro-firearm organizations such as us, Gunlicence.co.za, contribute to the rise in gun violence by promoting “get better and bigger guns with more lethal ammunition”. We do promote firearm ownership yes, to the right people. We do not promote anything considered “more lethal” – we simply try our best to inform the public of their options and what gives the average law-abiding citizen the best chance at effectively stopping an attack on innocent life. Pro-firearm individuals are often painted as killers, however, any legal firearm owner, who has completed all the prescribed steps in order to possess their firearm, will tell you that we carry firearms to stop a threat to innocent life and as a resort, not to kill.
My mentor shared something with me that I took to heart; “a firearm is a great equaliser, it allows an elderly female victim and a strong young criminal to be on the same plane, both can administer the same level of violence, the only difference between this violence is that the criminal is actively using his violence to take life while the victim is actively trying to defend it.”
When it comes to fearmongering in the firearms industry, it is frowned upon, however, it is not considered fearmongering when we state facts such as the obscene murder rate in South Africa, and when we state the fact that having your own firearm is the most effective way to combat illegal firearms. We do not promote violence! We promote safety! It must be remembered, as previously mentioned, criminals do not abide by our country’s laws – criminals will have access to firearms regardless of whether it is legal to have them or not. “Banning all guns” simply leaves the monopoly of violence in the hand of criminals. It would be delusional to think that destroying all firearms in the country will stop gun violence, as many illegal firearms are smuggled in across borders. Apart from this fact, our government will also not give over their guns… If criminals and my government have firearms, I surely at least want the privilege to take any prescribed steps in order to have my own. Why? Because I want to defend my life should it be in immediate danger.