Total failure of Gun Control in South Africa

In light of recent developments regarding the SAPS supplying firearms to criminals, I think it is accurate to state that gun control in South Africa has finally failed in totality. Everything that the Firearms Control Act (FCA) of 2000 was meant to achieve has been spectacularly reversed by large scale and almost endemic corruption within the Police Service.

Reverend Alan Story of Gun Free South Africa was quick to condemn the scandal in a Politicsweb press-release, despite the fact that GFSA played a very active role in causing this debacle in the first place. When GFSA lobbied the government to change our firearm legislation back in the late 90’s they were warned by Gun Owners of South Africa and the SA Gunowners Association that not only would the changes to the law be difficult and expensive to enforce, but also that the proposed firearm amnesty, where gun owners could hand in their firearms to the SAPS for destruction, would be vulnerable to corruption and criminal exploitation.

GFSA’s official position is: “Internationally and in South Africa there is recognition that one of the most effective ways to reduce gun crime is to reduce the number of guns in circulation.” Reducing the firearms in circulation is naturally a function of the SAPS when they confiscate firearms or when citizens hand them in, as GFSA encourages law-abiding gun owners to do. Yet instead of all these weapons being destroyed, they have ended up in the wrong hands. There has been report upon report of the SAPS losing firearms for years: one dating from 2012 states that the SAPS lost around 18 196 firearms between April 2005 and March 2011, and a more recent report claims that the SAPS lost over 1500 firearms during the last 2 years, with about 14 000 police firearms estimated to be in the possession of criminals. It is obvious that criminals using the police as a source of various types of firearms, including fully automatic rifles, is a very serious and expansive problem.

In light of the extensive exposure of police corruption in the mainstream media, I find it improbable that GFSA were not fully acquainted with the aforementioned facts. And yet they campaigned for citizens to surrender their legally owned guns to the SAPS, despite being fully aware that there is a high likelihood of these weapons finding their way into the possession of violent criminals. Had these firearms remained in the custody of their law-abiding owners, they may very well have never been supplied to criminals in the first place.

Recently GFSA fielded a televised advertisement stating that “if your stolen gun was there, so were you.” Considering the latest developments I find this advertisement to not only be incredibly disingenuous and intellectually dishonest, but also insulting in its hypocrisy. How many hundreds or possibly thousands of weapons surrendered to the police by civilians have been used by violent criminals to assist them in robbing, murdering and raping? Gun Free South Africa contributed towards making it happen.

Gun control in South Africa has failed. We have among the most restrictive and onerous firearm laws in the world, and it has failed to keep firearms out of criminal hands. Gun Free South Africa has lied to the public: it is evident that, should you surrender your firearm to the SAPS, it may very well not be destroyed but instead used against you by a potential hijacker or home invader.

I would like to see Gun Free South Africa apologise to the public for their involvement in this travesty. There are people out there who likely lost loved ones to the actions of criminals armed by GFSA’s firearms amnesty. I would like to see GFSA attempt to explain how this really isn’t their fault, but alas I rather think it is time we bid the likes of Alan Storey and his organisation adieu.

Photo Credit: Rouen Heiberg

One thought on “Total failure of Gun Control in South Africa

  1. There are times when I want to cry for the hypocrisy of firearm owners who bemoan the fact the cost of gun control is measured in citizens blood and forget the part they play. How can one sit idle and uninterested in objection to the such incredibly bad laws as the Firearms Control Act and than have the audacity to claim it is somebody else’s fault this law was passed.

    Did they inform and warn the public of the dangers of gun control to their safety and lives? Did they object and organise opposition to such proposals and mobilise public objection to endangerment of the public? Did they mobilise their members to join in this public spirited education and ensure the public were aware and able to protect their right to safety.

    There is not one firearm organisation that can claim it did. There is not one firem organisation the does no know it has a duty to do so. there is not one firearm organisation that has not refused point blank to make the slightest effort to do any thing but curry favour agree with these bad laws and want nothing but to promote and fix bad laws to ensure the function correctly for government. The only proposals they have is more and different gun control, the very thing that endangers the public’s lives.

    They have become elitists believing they are better that the public. That they deserve special recognition as safer than the public, more educated that the public and better trained and equipped than the public. All that matters to them is that they keep their guns by being obedient and accepting of these acknowledged bad laws that mweausee3 success in the public’s lives lost, woman raped and people hurt and robbed.

    These days I will not even admit to being a firearm owner I am so ashamed of the behaviour of firearm organisations who do know better but do not have the guts to challenge gun control. They are collaborators with gun control in attempting to make gun control work when it cannot and selling gun control to the public buy example of acceptance. Demoralising everyone by their unwillingness to fight what they know is wrong and cannot be made to work for the benefit of citizens.

    The good work started by organisations that were willing to oppose swept under the carpet and forgotten replaced by advocates of acceptance of gun control and a willingness only to make gun control work.


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