Categories Business Tech World Gun control is crucial in SA Post author By vanirexodus Post date March 2, 2022 No Comments on Gun control is crucial in SA Recently, a police officer shot and killed his partner, a nursing assistant, at Tembisa Hospital, then shot himself. In January, the Gauteng Department of Education confirmed that a general assistant was shot dead at Kwa-Phalo Primary School in Meadowlands. In the same month, two grade 10 students at Lesiba Secondary School in Daveyton died when a student showing off his grandfather’s gun accidentally shot the other and then killed himself. Many more people are being shot every day in SA. In fact, two presentations in 2020 by the ZA Police to the portfolio committee… Recently, a police officer shot and killed his partner, a nursing assistant, at Tembisa Hospital, then shot himself. In January, the Gauteng Department of Education confirmed that a general assistant was shot dead at Kwa-Phalo Primary School in Meadowlands. In the same month, two grade 10 students at Lesiba Secondary School in Daveyton died when a student showing off his grandfather’s gun accidentally shot the other and then killed himself. Many more people are being shot every day in SA. In fact, two presentations in 2020 by the SA police to the Police Portfolio Commission show that an average of 23 people are killed with firearms every day in SA. In response to the epidemic of gun violence, the Civilian Police Secretariat released the draft firearms control bill for public comment in May last year. ALSO READ: Bheki Cele tells SA how bad crime really is The police minister reiterated that the aim of the bill is to strengthen the firearms control law and that the proposed changes are intended to respond to a rapid increase in gun ownership and to strengthen the arms and ammunition possession and licensing processes. By the time the comment period ended, more than 118,000 people and organizations (including Gun Free South Africa and the Center for Applied Legal Studies) had submitted comments on the bill. One of the important changes is that civilians can no longer obtain a firearms license for self-defense. In the context where violent crime is widespread; where police officers are often the perpetrators; where the police are under-resourced and understaffed; where many of us live in fear; and where we either know someone who has been a victim or has been a victim ourselves – it’s no wonder some people and groups don’t support the bill. However, the public’s response and the involvement of the Civilian Police Secretariat in the submissions submitted must be substantiated by research. While it is important to consider our own (often tragic) personal experiences and the crime rate in SA, it is even more important to consider research. Statistics on population-level data show that guns are the leading cause of homicide in SA. When developing policy, it is important to determine the benefits for the entire population – even if there is resistance. The evidence is clear: Restricting access to guns benefits most people because it will reduce gun deaths overall. As reported by the Central Firearms Registry in 2014, the majority of legally owned weapons are kept for self-defense. This means that if the bill is passed, the number of legal gun owners will drop dramatically. This should be the desired outcome, because when access to weapons is reduced, gun-related violence also decreases. This turned out to be the case when the Firearms Control Act was initially passed. READ NOW: Drastic increase in rapes and murders in second quarter In 1998 the number of firearms-related deaths peaked at 34 deaths per day and 10 years later in 2009 the number of deaths from firearms had nearly halved to 18 deaths per day. If the bill is passed and it is more difficult to obtain a weapon, there will be fewer weapons available to be stolen and therefore fewer weapons on the illegal market. The estimated number of legal and illegal weapons in SA is 5.4 million. If the bill is passed, fewer guns will be used to commit crimes over time; there will be fewer guns in homes (which children take to school and use to shoot themselves and others); and there will be fewer weapons for perpetrators to use in domestic violence. What about people who acquire weapons for the sole purpose of protecting themselves from potential violent criminals? Research on the link between gun ownership and gun violence, published in the American Journal of Public Health, shows that people are four to five times more likely to be shot if they own a gun when attacked. The proposed changes to strengthen the law are to be welcomed. The bill is a powerful intervention to reduce gun violence in SA. Hopefully, the draft firearms control bill agreement and process will be finalized sooner rather than later, so that fewer people can be killed by gun violence in our hospitals, in our homes and in our schools. Palesa Madi is a lawyer, deputy director at the Center for Applied Legal Studies and sits on the board of Gun Free SA. ← Real grit makes our Proteas team excel → Experts still amazed at elephant deaths from human tuberculosis 6 years later Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment * Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.