New lobby aims to fight gun control in crime-plagued South Africa
By Clare Nullis
12:29 p.m. January 26, 2006
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – South African gun lobbyists set up a new organization Thursday to press the case that even more weapons are needed to curb crime in a country notorious for murders and armed robberies.
The new group, Gun Owners of South Africa, said people had the right to self-defense in a nation that has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
"We want the Firearms Control Act scrapped altogether, and we want a constitutional amendment to ensure we have the right to have firearms to protect our families," group leader Charl van Wyk said.
The group, which held its inaugural meeting with about 100 people at an industrial park outside Cape Town, was supported by Gun Owners of America.
"The criminal in South Africa has too much freedom of action, too much job security," said Larry Pratt, executive director of the U.S. group, which claims to have 300,000 members.
Pratt said he supported demands to scrap post-apartheid legislation restricting the ownership of firearms.
"The only way to tackle this Wild West scenario is to allow the good guys to have guns," he said.
South Africa's Safety and Security Ministry, which collected and destroyed nearly 100,000 unlicensed and 46,000 legally owned guns during a six-month amnesty last year, dismissed the claims.
"Gun control is here to stay across the world, including in the United States. Anything else would lead to chaos," ministry spokesman Trevor Bloem said.
South Africa's 45 million people own an estimated 3.7 million licensed guns and many more illegal ones. Gun ownership is deeply embedded in the national culture.
At the birth of all-race democracy in 1994, South Africa had the world's highest homicide rate – 67 per 100,000 people – largely because of violence in the country's impoverished and overcrowded townships. The rate fell to 40 per 100,000 in 2004, behind Colombia at 67 and Jamaica at 59.
Violence accounted for almost half the 25,000 fatal injuries in South Africa in 2003, according to a report by the Medical Research Council. More than 6,000 people died from gunshot wounds – as many as those killed in road accidents, it said.
A separate report by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa said 19 percent of people it surveyed had suffered an attack on themselves or a family member last year, and 57 percent feared crime in their own homes.
The Firearms Control Act, which came into force in 1994, introduced licensing requirements and background checks on gun owners. It also limited ownership to one gun for self-defense and up to four for occasional hunters.
Van Wyk said the bill was a "disgrace."
Gavin Cawthra, director of the Center for Defense and Security Management at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, said the gun lobby relies on a "very selective use of statistics."
"South Africa has got very high rates of crime and it has got one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world," he said. "Virtually every firearm owned by criminals was once legally owned by a non-criminal and it got lost or stolen."
Apparently these dismissive assholes are unaware of the success of the CCW laws in the US, if they think gun control is here to stay...
You will note that they do not mention CCW. South Africa does not allow CCW, to the best of my knowledge, this would be the reason that high crime rates are relatively unaffected by gun ownership.
There are many independent security firms, though, who provide a necessary service. When you call the police in SA you are likely as not to have to go and pick up the cops. Almost half of them do not have a drivers license and when my parents called them once they were told exaclt that, "Could you come get us, there is no one here with a license."
Unfortunately my father has decided that it is not worth it to defend himself and does not own a gun (he gave his shotgun to me).
On their very first day in SA, having moved down from Mozambique, moms' purse was snatched. She began yelling and chased after them. Several men ran after them as well, including two police officers. The men dropped the purse and continued to flee. Upon finding the purse the police stopped and took it back to mom. When she asked if they were going to try and catch the men the cops gave her a dumb look and said, "Why? You got your purse back."
No feeling that putting criminals in jail was necessary if they just gave things back . . .
An S. Africa was such a NICE place. I wonder what happened
I love how they put the "claim to have" bullshit in there.
What the hell does he think they have now?????????????
Remember that this is the same country that brought us the runningboard-mounted anti-carjacker flamethrower.
Don't forget to check out the video!