Gun-Free SA is hypocritical and unfair
October 11, 2005
I am glad that Judy Bassingthwaite has finally admitted what has long been denied, that Gun-Free South Africa's real mission is the total prohibition of privately owned firearms (Letters, October 6).
GFSA's enthusiasm for the Firearms Control Act (FCA) therefore has nothing to do with responsible firearm ownership. It is because the act is in fact a disarmament measure, as was freely admitted by Mluleki George, the man who piloted it through parliament.
Aside from that, Ms Bassingthwaite's letter is another catalogue of the falsehood that is GFSA's trademark.
The only free flow of guns is to criminals. Firearms ownership by honest citizens has always been tightly controlled.
It is well established that South Africa's firearm owners commit no crime, so the armed conflict between law-abiding citizens to which she refers is non-existent.
Perhaps, therefore, she can explain exactly what the deadly risks are when gun owners bring these terrible weapons into our homes and our communities.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why so few firearm owners have complied with relicensing.
They recognise it as confiscation by stealth, and see no point in applying for what they know will be refused.
That does not make them irresponsible, it makes them understandably angry, and Ms Bassingthwaite does not explain how relicensing something they have safely owned for years will reduce gun violence.
Of course, anyone with half a brain understands that gun violence is an issue of criminality, not of ownership, and that the FCA, being aimed exclusively at licensed owners, cannot possibly do anything to reduce it.
But Ms Bassingthwaite declares it a good law and insists that it is critical that it works. It is already demonstrably not working because it was never intended to work; it was intended to be an insurmountable block to lawful firearm ownership.
Perhaps Ms Bassingthwaite can explain why it is so full of unconstitutional violations such as no right to silence, search and seizure without warrant, the taking of blood, DNA and even semen samples without either warrant or consent, and the most savage penalties for minor, victimless, infractions.
Indeed, GFSA has been conspicuously silent about them, and I'm sure your readers will draw their own conclusions about GFSA's commitment to civil liberties.
As for limiting firearm ownership to responsible people like the police, presumably these would be the same police that can't convict more than 8% of offenders, that can't make a dent in the world's second highest homicide rate, who rent out and sell guns to criminals, and several of whose central firearms registry's senior personnel are under investigation for the corrupt issue of licences.
But these are details. There is a bigger picture that is seldom examined.
To begin with, the relationship between firearm ownership and crime is inverse, that is, the more firearms owned by honest citizens, the less crime there will be.
That is so well documented that it is astonishing that the likes of Ms Bassingthwaite get away with saying the opposite so often.
GFSA has never offered an example of the success of gun control in reducing crime or the supply of guns to criminals, despite having often been challenged to do so. Your readers will no doubt draw their own conclusions about that too.
Secondly, one wonders why we have tiny unrepresentative organisations like GFSA which have no local support or funding, but spend much effort and large sums of foreign-sourced money trying to destroy the legitimate rights of citizens when we have so many real problems that need solutions.
And thirdly, there is an important issue of governance at stake. GFSA was consulted extensively in the drafting of the FCA, while those affected were deliberately excluded.
What kind of society can we possibly build when the wishes and interests of millions can be sacrificed at the behest of a dozen people?
That, as much as anything, is a compelling reason for the scrapping of the FCA and its replacement with something more equitable and democratic. Not for nothing has no less a person than the editor of the Cape Argus declared that.
Clearly there is something very wrong somewhere.
Finally, Ms Bassingthwaite's desire to disarm us does not include herself, as her home is protected by armed response. How is that for hypocrisy?
And thirdly, there is an important issue of governance at stake. GFSA was consulted extensively in the drafting of the FCA, while those affected were deliberately excluded. "
Gun banners were consulted, gun owners were not.
That's the sort of reasoning behind the entire existence of the 2nd Amendment to begin with.
Culling the herd in an open field, one rogue liberal at a time.