Why the fuss about HuntEx?

In reaction to my article criticising HuntEx and its organisers last week, a number of questions popped up that deserve answering.

One gentleman remarked that he cannot fathom why anyone would legitimately want to carry a loaded gun at a public event, and whether we “expected to shoot something?”

I wrote an article not long about why I carry a gun. Please click on the link and go read it. Really, my page needs the extra hits. If you don’t feel like reading it, for which I don’t blame you, or if your attention span is just really short, let me summarise: I carry a gun because I refuse to defer responsibility for my personal safety to any other person or organisation. I recognise that violent crime is an omnipresent reality in our society, and that nobody gets a free-pass from criminals just because they are attending a public event.

A whole bunch of people carry their guns in public every single day. We carry to the movies. We carry to the bank. We carry to the Pick ‘n Pay. We even carry to the gym. What makes HuntEx so special as to be exempted from our usual EDC? I would go as far to say that if you own a firearm for self-defence and you leave it locked in the safe as opposed to carrying it as much as possible, that you are being an irresponsible gun owner. That pistol or .38 snubbie is not going to do you any good if it is laying in a safe somewhere just when you need it most.

If you think that a gun expo is not a juicy target for criminals, especially when everybody inside is going to be effectively disarmed, then I don’t know what planet you are living on. This is South Africa folks, one of the most violent and crime plagued countries on Earth. I really can’t believe that in this day and age in our nation I still have to answer questions like this.

Anyway, moving on.

Another fellow asked that, since there is now an uproar about HuntEx’s stance on handguns, what do the guys do who watch rugby or attend other public events? I think the words “Cowboys” or “Rambos” may have been thrown around, but I will not allow those to detract from Buffalo Bill’s question.

 I don’t watch rugby. Actually, I don’t watch any sports. But that is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the fact that I do not expect any rugby union to stand up for my rights. HuntEx is an event that specifically caters for South Africa’s hunting and shooting fraternity. They are supposed to be representative of my rights as a gun owner. They are not supposed to impose unrealistic knee-jerk “safety precautions” on EDC people because of the negligence of one person. Jeepers, folks; whose side are you on? That is the question.

Let me give you a little disclaimer here. I don’t hunt. I have never shot an animal in my life, and chances are I probably never will. I have zero interest in shooting animals, and I am more than happy to keep it that way. Get the picture?

Despite my total apathy towards hunting, and the fact that it would make no difference to my life if it were banned tomorrow, I have stood up for the rights of hunters whenever those rights have been threatened. I have explained the incredible benefits of ethical hunting to conservation efforts and the sustainability of game and wildlife in South Africa to those opposed to hunting. I will continue to do so because I believe in the rights of hunters.

 So why do some hunters out there not give a rat’s behind about the rights of other firearm owners? I’ve got news for you chaps: the front line of our collective rights as firearms owners is fought at the handgun front. If we lose our rights as handgun owners and carriers, how long do you reckon it would take before you lose your hunting rifles? The people opposed to us want our guns gone, and they do not differentiate between hunting rifles and pistols. The day handgun owners’ rights are destroyed, we may as well all give up the battle because we would already have lost.

This is exactly why we cannot allow an event like HuntEx do the dirty work for the opposition. To steal a quote from Malcolm X, “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made….They won’t even admit that a knife is there.”

The knife has been put into a section of our firearms fraternity folks. We need to pull that sucker out and start the healing process. We need to do this for the sake of all our rights collectively, as hunters, sport shooters, and EDC people. Let’s get with the program and work towards a solution that does not in any way discriminate against any of us, because we are all on the same bus.

Photo Credit: Richard Best

20 thoughts on “Why the fuss about HuntEx?

  1. Wonderfully written as always. Even as someone who has hunted all my life and only recently come to EDC and sport shooting, the actions of Huntex has shocked me. Even more so, the false bravado of those asking why on earth we’d carry (the same ones whose rights we are defending!). This despite so many would-be victims having success in fighting back recently. Who knows what would have happened had they not fought back?

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  2. When I realized that SAHGCA is involved with Huntex, all made sense. Remember this is the same crowd willing to throw handgun owners under the bus to preserve their own rights. It is time for SAHGCA to step aside and let those serious about our rights negotiate on our behalf.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicely written as always. I also don’t hunt (I just can’t get myself to pull the trigger) but I have never had a problem with my conscience to tjomp down on a nice piece of biltong, so maybe that is why I actively defend the hunters rights.

    I would like to bring something under the attention of the band of hunters that think that it is OK to sacrifice my liberties on the altar to safeguard their own.

    The way to your liberties is through mine, The anti’s will never be satisfied. After EDC it will be semi autos, then rifles, then knifes, then clubs, then I suppose rocks. You don’t believe me, have a look at Britain’s knife laws. So it is in your own interest to stand firm with us in defending the liberties we do still have, even if you believe me to be a Rambo wannabe cowboy scared enough to not even attend a fair without being armed, because I’m the last bastion before the Anti’s shift their attention to you!

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  4. @Andre: You’re right, but you’re wrong. SAHGCA remains the largest firearms organisation in the country. What’s required is that as many of its members as possible, (myself included!) lobby them for a response on this issue (as an organisation they’ve been silent, seemingly letting the “events” part of HuntEx take all the flak).

    SAHGCA is the only firearms organisation in SA that has a substantial permanent staff, with the membership an financial resources to support that. In an ideal world, the greater firearms community can leverage that to the advantage of all firearms owners. In order to make that happen, “we” need to get SAHGCA completely on “our” side. This must happen from both the membership direction (email them, explain the dissatisfaction and pressure them for a response that takes a “yay” or “nay” stance) as well as from pressure by other firearms organisations.

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  5. IMHO, I think it is very easy for the Hunting associations to through the SD and Handgun owners under the tractor wheels to deflect the focus off themselves and get into the anti’s good books. What do they care, as long as it does not impose on their ownership. I am not saying that they are all in one boat, but, I do think a lot of them have this perception. However, Gunservant is quite right. If Handgun owners lose the battle, whatis to follow….

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  6. I agree with the comments concerning your article and how well it was written. I would like to debate a couple of points though:
    1. “I do not defer the responsibility for my personal safety, or that of my family, to other people or organisations”. A noble and commendable stance. However, your statement implies that a gun is the only way to defend oneself and loved ones. This is false.
    2. “I carry a firearm because it is the most effective self-defence tool I can carry on my person”. This is also false. Unless an assailant is spotted at a distance of more than 7 meters, an average person will not have the time to use a gun to defend themselves, even if the assailant is brandishing a melee weapon (knife / bat) only. (for reference, the average living room is about 5 meters across).

    Now coming back to HuntEx, I am actually against using the hardware to disable visitors weapons, but I am for creating a safer environment. The people posting here all seem to be responsible citizens, but HuntEx has 40000 visitors, and even if 1% of those are irresponsible asshats who have no idea how to handle their weapons, that’s still 40 potentially dangerous situations. In lieu of this, has anyone suggested that all automatic and semi-automatic weapons carried into the expo have the round removed from the chamber? Would this not serve as an agreeable compromise?

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  7. VictorMikeAlpha – You’re talking absolute garbage and spreading misinformation. Do some research into how many people have effectively fought back with firearms at even contact distance. Also, your “compromise” serves only to empower the anti’s as well as create an unnecessary loading/unloading procedure which would increase the likelyhood of ND’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • VMA, you seem to be circling around the argument.

      Of course a firearm is not the only tool available, but it is the single most effective method with which to propagate deadly force in a compact package. I mention as much in the article you claimed t0 have read. If guns weren’t effective, why do police forces and militaries the world over carry them?

      Your second point pertaining to how ineffective a handgun supposedly is at distances shorter than 7 meters are, frankly, pure nonsense. It borders on intellectual dishonesty that seeks any method to discredit a claim through use of argumentation with zero statistical backing. If you seek empirical evidence, I know quite a few people who successfully defended their lives with a handgun at point blank range. I am sure they would like to weigh-in here too.

      As to your last point: NO. There is no compromise. We have rights, we will defend our rights, and we will not have them trampled upon by outsiders like GFSA or hunting expos. Don’t tread on us, because you will be next when they come for your rifles. No compromise, no discussion.

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  8. @VMA – I don’t agree with both your statements with regards to the use of a handgun in a Self Defence situation. This is what we train for as often and as hard as possible. Saying that a Firearm is only effective if an Bad Guy is more than 7-metres away is false. It has been proven, feel free to read up on as example GunSite: http://www.gunsite.co.za/forums/showthread.php?43504-HELD-UP
    This is just one example of where a Firearm was used, successfully, even after an attacked had begun.

    Your statement: “your statement implies that a gun is the only way to defend oneself and loved ones. This is false.” – Chances are that if an attacked is made on your life it is with a deadly weapon, may it be a knife or Firearm. I would rather be in a position to end the attack as quick as possible and in my opinion a Firearm is the best tool for this. Why would I take my chances with anything else?

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    • Sadly Malusi, yes. There are a few among them that don’t see the bigger picture, and who will gladly throw us under the bus to gain temporary advantage from it. Temporary, because the next thing to be banned will be hunting rifles. Those individuals and organisations must catch a wake-up.

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  9. Please don’t get so aggressive, I am trying to have a civilized debate. I am not making stuff up, I did do research. this: http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/Tueller/How.Close.htm
    and this:
    http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/dont-bring-a-gun-to-a-knife-fight/
    and this:
    http://www.your-krav-maga-expert.com/gun-vs-knife.html

    Notice the statistic that a TRAINED person can un-holster and fire their gun is 1.5 seconds. This is the same time it takes a person to close in from 7 meters.

    The “anti’s” already have a boy who was shot by his own father, I don’t think a compromise is going to to make a dent in their case.

    The ND during unloading is the only valid argument I have heard against unloading so far.

    Concerning the story on gunsite.co.za. Sitting here and reading it gave me sweaty palms. I have been in a similar situation. I was unarmed but luckily the fuckwads were not aggresive and left quickly (with a lot of my electronics). The happy ending is satisfying, though I find myself wishing he had deep sixed the lot.

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  10. Guys don’t generalise (about hunters). Yes there is dissent (or lack of firm action) from a brother fraternity but I hunt and carry for SD and support all forms of guns.
    In Dec 2012 at night I fended off half a dozen “home invaders”, who incidentally were closer than 7 meters on occasion and armed with automatic weapons and tossed a flash bang at my family and I to start their attack… and I had a 9mm with 30 rounds at my immediate disposal (not in a safe or with a cable tie down the barrel).

    You can cut and paste as many online articles as you want, until you were or are in my shoes, a well thought out and spell checked, grammar corrected year long researched carefully worded and lightly placed article online (thank you Eric Idle) means nothing when you have a millisecond to make a choice, in the real world. The failing of using those type of stats is there is no mathematical way of measuring the here and now, the human emotional state at the moment the brown stuff hits the fan. One gun-slinger can draw and fire in 1.5 seconds? Was he accurate? How many times was he accurate? 5%, 31.5%, 100% of the time? Are we all carrying the same weapon that he was? Are we all the same age, height, build, mental capacity, trained? See the futility of that math argument?

    To me an assault on my legal right to protect myself or associate with a group, event, club, calibre, type of firearm etc on some non legal non binding terms is my right to defend and it is not someone else’s to dictate to me that I must disarm in the one place I should feel surrounded by like minded brothers; rifle, shotgun, pellet gun or handgun is still a firearm to me. Take one away and the other will surely follow.

    Lies, damn lies and statistics:
    All that needs to be done (extra) is reinforce simple practical visual gun safety tips (posters) and audible PA tips (for the 1% that you suggest are problematic).

    i.e. You may not take your weapon out of your holster at all under any circumstances EXCEPT under the watchful eye of an exhibitor at a stall for the purposes of inspection or sale/purchase.
    Fingers off triggers!
    Concealed carry only, no open carry.

    The math doesn’t stack up, because by VMA’s analogy, last year should then have had 400 discharges. 1% of 40,000 is 400 not 40!
    It didn’t have 400 or even 40; it had 1 incident so that is 1:40,000 is actually 0.0025% and for the years that it’s been held incident free, divide that again by the number of years it’s run 0.0025/4 = 0.000625%

    So 159,999 visitors in 4 years (based on the available data I have) are being subjected to a disarm lock out policy because of 1 (admitted horrid and sad) incident. WTH happened to democracy and common sense? It’s the least common of all the senses.

    PS: Doesn’t Gallagher Estate have a no carry, gun free zone stance the rest of the year? 😉 and yes GS85 you are the first one tucking into my homemade Rooibok Rugstring biltong from my bar 🙂 Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Why the hell do we end up arguing rubbish and emotional BS like gun control were guiding the conversation? Are we in favour of gun control now or is it that so many people now think well it cannot hurt to have a little…. Or the elitist sell outs – we need it for irresponsible people.

    Do we just like finding excuses for our own lack of back bone? We can do this or that and we fall over ourselves trying to APPEASE absolute idiots. What measure propose will stop this happening again? Is HUNTEX so money conscious and greedy it will sell it’s own grandmother to appease gun control instead of stanging up for firearm owners rights?

    There is nothing worse on this earth than an organisation that will sell out its members and potential members. SAHGC have proven they are willing to do that all to often. It is about time somebody explained nicely to management that was not very nice don’t do it again OR ELSE. and MEAN it.

    One cannot prevent accidents. One cannot make a fool proof system. Face facts and EDUCATE the public if you are so scared gun control will mislead them and you will lose money. Leave our rights alone they are not negotiable.

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