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The Need for Firearms in Legitimate Private Hands
Why is lawful private ownership of guns so critical for future peace and stability in South Africa?
In 2017 these were the facts on legal ownership according to the Small Arms Survey which attempts to enumerate firearms in civilian hands globally:
- South Africa Population: 55,436,000
- Estimate of firearms in civilian possession: 5,351,000
- Estimate of civilian firearms per 100 persons: 9.7
- Computation Method: Expert estimate
- Registered firearms: 3,000,000 (5.4%)
- Unregistered firearms: 2,351,000 (4.2%)
So if these figures are to be believed (remember these are not authoritative but mere estimates), roughly 1 in 5 persons ( 5.4%) in SA legally owns one or more firearm(s).
Is that cause for concern? Gun Free South Africa would have you believe so - but when compared with many other countries, the most accurate figures available do not show that SA is a 'gun-loving' society at all. In fact South Africa falls right about in the middle of countries for which data is available.
One glaring fact from these statistics is the large proportion of "unregistered" firearms in civilian possession. Again this is an "expert" estimate and is not far short of those "registered" guns. Since SA has for many decades had mandatory registration and licencing of all civilian-owned firearms the "unregistered" are more accurately termed "illegal" guns, or "guns in the possession of criminals".
Yet we see from the likes of GFSA, little concern, no activism or cries for confiscation of THESE illegal guns or even a solid proposal for action to reduce THIS part of the equation - which undoubtedly is THE problem in a nutshell!
This is the latest data available from the Small Arms Survey
1. Infographic - Click Here
The table below contains data based on the Small Arms Survey 2017:
As can be seen South Africa does not appear in the "Top 21" as shown above and is certainly not 'awash with guns' at least as far as legal guns are concerned,as often claimed by the anti-gun lobby. Since no-one truly knows how many illegal guns there are however it is probable that SA is indeed actually 'awash' with illegal guns - and yet which guns are being targeted by Gun Free SA and the government? - you guessed it - those 'statistically insignificant' legal guns owned by law-abiding citizens!
It may be mentioned at this point that a previous Minister of Safety and Security of South Africa, in the government of Thabo Mbeki, Sydney Mufumadi (pictured left), in answer to a Parliamentary Question asking "How many crimes are committed by persons using guns legally licenced to themselves (i.e. legitimate owners of the gun used in a crime)?" said that no figure is available from any source since the figure is so low that is statistically without significance and therefore no purpose is achieved by recording it separately.
Apart from gun ownership for legitimate hunting and sporting purposes generally (shooting sports etc), valid reasons for gun-ownership for self-defence purposes in SA have in fact proliferated in recent years due to burgeoning crime - and unfortunately much of the additional crime is of a very violent nature (see "Crime Reports").
However the crime that probably most concerns the average citizen occurs at his/her home, often in the dead of night - when an armed robber or robbers clandestinely enters the home with the intention of holding the occupants at gunpoint and robbing them - this is often accompanied by a high degree of gratuitous violence, even murder, torture and rape.
Given the fact that in these scenarios (common) the invaders have already overcome whatever alarms and other security measures are in place and have entered the dwelling, then the ONLY suitable defensive tool is the firearm. It is the height of folly to say, as do Gun Free and others, that the homeowner should simply phone the police or rely on an armed security response company - the quickest response by such entities will invariably be too slow to prevent injury or death.
More and more in recent times, we see news reports of homeowners and others successfully using a gun to thwart attackers in their homes - we sympathise deeply with the victims of such attacks in that they had to undergo such a traumatic and terrifying event - but applaud such actions and hope to see more law-abiding citizens succeeding against thugs - while the state continues in it's attempts to disarm all such law-abiding citizens and remove any possibility that such future defensive actions may succeed as a result of having to defend the home with non-firearm weapons of limited power.
If the ability to properly defend is removed from citizens, then criminals will be allowed the freedom to perpetrate their crimes virtually without risk to themselves. The result of this, over time, will inevitably be an increase in crime, and we are seeing this result today, where home invasions have increased 25% (2005-2006 statistics) and the incidence of armed, as opposed to unarmed criminal attacks is almost universal - today one can expect that a robber who enters a home or business premises to rob, will be armed.
The fact of increased crime by weapon-wielding thugs is evidenced in every country which has adopted overly-strict gun ownership laws. Britain, Australia, Belgium are some recent examples, where exactly the opposite result to that desired by authorities, has been achieved after laws severely restricting and even banning ownership of firearms have been enacted.