MEDIA RELEASE BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN GUNOWNERS' ASSOCIATION (SAGA) FIREARMS AND CRIME
1 October 2015
On Media 24 Today on 27 September 2015, Chandre Gould of the Institute of Security Studies and Adele Kirsten of Gun Free South Africa report on their research as to how guns fuel crime. They allegedly interviewed a number of young people who each explained their tragic stories as to how they got hold of firearms and then learnt to use them in violent crime. Their stories surprise nobody: they are simply criminals who stole guns and then used them to commit robberies and other violent crimes. They belong in prison and hopefully this is where they currently are. Knives and other sharp and blunt instruments contribute to many more crimes than firearms. These instruments are controlled as so-called dangerous weapons but arrests and successful prosecutions are few and far between.
Gould and Kirsten inferred that “It was as if by owning a gun they crossed an invisible boundary between normal society and the criminal circles they moved in, signifying a permanent shift and untethering any bonds that restrained them”. This in fact is the main reason why free and law-abiding people must continue to exercise their right to keep and bear firearms for self-defence and other lawful reasons. Firearm owners do, however, have the concomitant obligation to use firearms responsibly and keep them safe. Firearms in the hands of free and law-abiding people deter and prevent violent crime and are the only guarantee to preventing anarchy.
The Firearms Control Act has introduced a number of important measures to ensure that incompetent people should not own firearms and that adequate reasons must be provided for wanting to obtain a license to possess a firearm. The police have a duty to ensure that information supplied by an applicant is verified and is correct. The same Act, like all previous laws, criminalises the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition and provides for harsh sentences. However, to rid society of illegally possessed firearms is not merely a matter of law enforcement, it also means that people must change their attitudes and report all criminal misbehaviour to the police. Fighting crime is not only a police issue.
Since the acquisition and possession of firearms and ammunition are sufficiently controlled by the Firearms Control Act, SAGA calls upon government to focus on removing illegally possessed firearms from society. This also implies preventing firearms emanating from official sources from landing in criminals’ hands. It needs mentioning that automatic rifles that are regularly used in cash heists, shopping mall robberies and the like, must, of necessity, have come from either official sources or arms caches unbeknown to the police or have been smuggled from neighbouring countries. All forms of corruption need to be addressed in a more effective manner.
Rather than making a constructive contribution to solving the problem, the anti-gun lobby always seem to equate the high violent crime rate with firearms – without considering that people commit crime and not guns; and with scant interest as to whether firearms had been lawfully or unlawfully possessed. If violent crime is reduced to an acceptable level (whatever that may be), fewer people would want to acquire firearms for self-defence.
In promoting constitutional freedom, SAGA supports the right of free and law-abiding citizens to choose to acquire, possess and use firearms responsibly and for lawful purposes.--
Issued by: The SAGA Office tel +27 31 5629951 fax: +27 86 5539615 For Legal requirements our physical address is given - NOT for mail Tandjo Centre, 4 Joseph Ave, Glen Anil, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.