It is no secret that firearms have been part and parcel of South African society from before the Republic was even formed. Over the years, firearms have remained very much a part of our culture as a nation. People from all creeds continue to enjoy the various benefits of firearm ownership. This article will focus on the top 3 reasons South Africans choose to own firearms.
The first reason on our list is no secret. Each day that passes, firearms are becoming more of a necessity and less of a luxury. With a murder rate of +-23,000 per year, a reported rape rate of more than 40,000 and more than 150,000 reported armed robberies, South Africans are fast getting tired of being victimized by violent criminals. Owning a firearm for self defence and knowing how to use it is one of the most empowering things a person can do.
Owning a firearm for self defence means that you have a say. It means that your life and limb are not at the mercy of a violent criminal. There are countless tales of ordinary citizens stopping evil criminals, trying to carry out heinous rapes and murders, in their tracks, by using their legally owned firearms. These innocent survivors overcame their run ins with evil and were able to live another day because they took charge and made the decision to empower themselves. I fear that without their firearms, they would more than likely joined the thousands of South Africans raped and murdered in cold blood.
I myself would have met a grizzly fate one cold winters night, along side of the notorious N2 highway when my car broke down about 200m away from the R300 bridge. A pack of 4 predatory criminals tried to impose their will upon me, but their illegal attack was cut short when gunshots rang out, breaking the hum of 7pm traffic. The sun had set and nobody was stopping to help. I will speak about this incident in more detail in another article as I believe there are some incredibly valuable lessons to be learned from it.
Long story short, the fact that South Africans have a need to own firearms cannot be credibly debated at this point. Myself and thousands of other South Africans lives have been spared because of our legally owned firearms. The recent violent riots in KZN and Gauteng has reinforced the fact that an armed society is key to a truly free and fair, law abiding country. If ordinary citizens had be disarmed, the facts are there to suggest that the riots would have turned out far, far worse and that the government could have been successfully destabilized.
The second main reason for South Africans licensing firearms in South Africa is to put food on the table. Hunting has been a cherished practice, dating back to way before civilization. The first recorded humanoids hunted using sticks and stones. Today we use firearms.
The ability to source and harvest your own meat is a prized right of passage for many South Africans. It is a time honored tradition, which has been passed down from generation to generation across all of South Africa’s beautiful cultures. It is a practical tradition that shown no signs of slowing down.
There are many benefits of hunting your won meat, instead of purchasing from large corporate chains. Some of them include ensuring that your harvest is sourced in a truly ethical way, supporting local communities and feeding locals in these communities. You also have a far more satisfying experience when enjoying a meal with meat prepared with the fruits own your own labour.
When you hunt for your meat, you have direct control over how your animal is treated. Ethical hunting practices are set out to ensure that animals endure as little suffering as humanly possible. I for one, would much rather harvest, say, a kudu from its natural, happy environment with a quick and clean head shot or a well placed shot just behind the shoulder, dropping it almost instantly, than purchasing part of a cow that has lived its whole life in atrocious conditions, rife with overcrowding, restriction of movement and all round cruel conditions. Hunting is not for everyone, and that is perfectly fine. In a free society, everyone is free to make their own decisions and live their lives accordingly. I for one, never push my ideologies onto other people, like many in other vocal communities. I know a lot of people who eat meat, but refuse to take an animals life themselves. Again, this is perfectly fine. The many differences in belief and culture is what makes this world such an interesting and amazing place!
Last but most certainly not least on this list is sport shooting. This is how I personally took my first steps into the wonderful world of firearms. I will never forget the day that shot my first gun. I was about 10 years old and nervously pulled the trigger of an over and under 12 gauge shotgun. To my youthful delight, the much anticipated “12 gauge kick” that I had been waiting for was much less than I had bargained for. I was hooked.
Many years have passed since that day. I have enjoyed a decade long career in the firearms industry, which started at the age of 18 when I was offered a position at one of South Africa’s premier firearm retailers, as a result of the various shooting accolades I had been afforded the opportunity to acquire.
Sport shooting has been described as one of the most inclusive sports around. I can personally attest to this, having seen people with varying disabilities, which would render them ineffective in other sports, excel in the passion of sport shooting.
Sport shooting is so diverse in its various disciplines, ranging from the action packed IPSC and IDPA disciplines, to the patience and nerve of long range precision shooters, to the old, rich history and tradition of clay target shooting. Like golf, shooting is an artform that takes years to master. It is not easy, and that is what makes it so magical! The fact that shooting is so light one your body means that you can enjoy it until the day you eventually perish from old age. I have personally shot many rounds of ATA and DTL trap with friends in their 90s. It truly amazing to experience a human being having that much fun at that age!
At the end of the day, firearms are here to stay, whether you like it or not.
Criminals will keep on sourcing them from the state and law-abiding citizens will keep on acquiring them via legal channels.
The benefits of law abiding citizens owning firearms far outweigh any perceived negatives.
We will continue to empower, entertain and feed ourselves, families and communities with the help of our trusted friends, firearms.