Firearm Related Death in South Africa is Negligible.

Shocking revelations and ground-breaking exposés don’t often make for pleasant reading. When grounded in fact they generally serve to shake the foundations of, and ultimately destroy in totality, previously held beliefs that are now shown to be in error. They elicit in the reasonable person an epiphany that everything they used to think of as true is in fact incorrect, and confront us with an entirely new set of circumstances that we are forced to accept, given the evidence.

In short, such striking realisations tend to make people rather uncomfortable.

If you are assaulted and killed in South Africa, you are roughly 50 times more likely to be killed by use of a sharp object than you are by use of a firearm.

It thus gives me great pleasure to confirm that every assertion we as gun owners have made over the years regarding the fact that firearms are not the problem in our violent society, is unequivocally and demonstrably true.

I can also confirm that everything disseminated by the opposition as (in their subjective opinion) fact, is entirely devoid of truth and amounts to little more than malicious fiction.

The latest figures released by Statistics South Africa, the official government statistics service, in “Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa 2013: Findings from death notification” paints an interesting picture of our nation’s leading causes of death.

Stats SA has provided the original publication, as well as their presentation. I have sourced all my data from them.

Of particular interest to us are the Non-Natural causes of death by broad group, which makes up about 10%.

Figure 1A

Of this 10% projected national figure, assault related deaths are 10,2%. This means that assault related death makes up about 1,02% of all deaths nationally.

Figure 2

Of even further interest is the composition of these assault related deaths:

Figure 3

The Top 3 causes are as follows:

  1. Sharp Object related:                                     85,1%
  2. Unspecified means:                                          9,7%
  3. Other and unspecified firearm discharge:    1,7%

Firearms are present in only 1,7% of assault related deaths, which make up 10,2% of non-natural deaths, which in turn contribute 10% to all deaths nationally. Thus firearms are responsible for only about 0,1734% of non-natural deaths, and roughly 0,01734% of all deaths nationally.

I do not think I need to underline how significant this figure is.

Sharp objects on the other hand, remained the most prominent contributor to non-natural deaths since 1997:

Figure 4

If you are assaulted and killed in South Africa, you are roughly 50 times more likely to be killed by use of a sharp object than you are by use of a firearm.

Yet we have no comparable outcry when youngsters are stabbed to death at a party, or six men are tied up and stoned to death. Had these people been murdered by use of a firearm, we will have renewed calls for tougher gun laws despite logic dictating that such measures will not make a difference.

To add further significant clout to the argument that legal firearm owners and guns in general are not the security problem that they are perceived by some to be, revelations in Parliament by Police Minister Nati Nhleko brings into serious dispute any claims that private firearm owners can be held responsible for the levels of violent crime in South Africa.

According to Business Day, “Far fewer privately owned firearms were lost or stolen in the past four-and-a-half years than was previously reported, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has revealed. This casts doubts on the gun loss figures in the South African Police Service’s annual reports.

Mr Nhleko’s latest figures have the potential to derail theories that lost or stolen privately owned firearms are responsible for most of the serious gun crime in SA.

The rationale behind the strict provisions of the Firearms Control Act was that lost or stolen firearms were boosting the pool of illegal guns available to criminals and that firearms should therefore be more strictly controlled.

This brings in to question the validity of the very existence of the Firearms Control Act of 2000, seeing that it is becoming ever clearer that it was drafted to fix a problem that quite frankly never existed.

Mr Nhleko’s latest figures have the potential to derail theories that lost or stolen privately owned firearms are responsible for most of the serious gun crime in SA.

It is time to put serious and penetrating questions to the authorities as to how they justify saddling gun owners with unworkable and unfair legislation, when the entire system’s value is brought into dispute by the government’s own statistics.

Those who say that we need tougher gun laws in this country are no different to the Flat Earth Society, Anti-Vaccination activists, 9/11 Truthers, and other crackpots who refuse to acknowledge factual proof that their “theories” are completely wrong.

In a world of chaos, we need reason and logic to lead the way: not the equivalent of modern superstition. Be a part of the solution, and perhaps we can start fixing the problem.

PS. Please note the following on Page 3 of the statistical release: Data and methods

“A total of 458 933 deaths that occurred in 2013 were registered at DHA and reached Stats SA in time for the 2014 data processing phase, thus forming the basis for this release.

Thus this indicates that the entire study pertains to a sample size of 458 933 deaths only, and not the total population of all deaths occurring in South Africa during the period. Thus the conclusions drawn from the release are as valid as accuracy allows.

50 thoughts on “Firearm Related Death in South Africa is Negligible.

  1. Thank you for the detailed report on Stats. GFSA will however ignore facts and switch the subject when shown real hard facts. They report emotions and not reality. I would love you to debate them with these facts on national TV.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps the line “I do not think I need to underline how insignificant this figure is.” Should really be “I do not think I need to underline how ‘significant’ this figure is.”
    Simply because it is both significantly negligible as well as often being significantly exaggerated by the anti-gun lobby and government, (but then I’m repeating myself).

    Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Actually that comment was meant more as a reflection on the true nature of our problem than merely a grammatical correction. Given that responsible gun-owners are usually decent, honest, responsible people overall, we invariably tend to look at things -then present them- from that perspective. It should be expected that people who are paid to promote a civilian disarmament campaign, -and of course they are- will by necessity adopt any means possible to achieve their dishonest aim. That being quite simply to dance to the pipers tune, the piper being the ANC puppet government and its Socialist UN Masters. Were you aware that GFSA was originally promoted, set-up and funded by the ANC, its a matter of public record. They even received funding from the National Lottery.
        Martin. Author; Conditioned Victim? Your Choice.


  3. Interesting facts but:
    – death is not the only bad side of guns. I would like to know figures of assaults and injuries with firearms. Also interesting would be numbers of private owners.
    – there IS an outcry if someone is stabbed or stoned.
    – you said loss of private firearms is far lower the last 4 years and then unsubstantially state that problem “had never existed”.
    – I never thought private guns are the reason for the violence or amount of illegal firearms BUT I think it is one of the sources.
    – my concern are those gun owners
    – logic says: the less people own guns the less can get lost or abused. It might be very low numbers but still is logic.

    But surely government should get their asses up and start controlling their own firearms in police forces.


    • If American statistics apply to us, which it may or may not, 6 out of every 7 gunshot wound victims survive. I do not know what that ratio is for stabbing victims.

      The difference in outcry is that we do not try to curb people from owning knives or sharp objects every time a terrible stabbing death occurs. We need to move past thinking that the weapons are the problem, people will always find a way to perpetrate violence on others.

      The best object we as law abiding citizens can own to protect ourselves, is a handgun. I do not for a moment believe that curbing such rights and privileges will make our country less violent. Statistics show that the opposite will likely happen instead.


      • I agree. We only have to look at the six latest victims with their hands tied behind their backs and killed with stones and sharp instruments.

        Liked by 1 person

    • OK, in reverse order.
      Name anything government actually controls competently, Education, Roads, Judiciary, Police, SANDF, the National grid, Water, anything at all. Oops, my bad, Nkandla (but theft doesn’t count.)
      If not one single gun whatsoever was ever lost from a civilian, the police; private security; SANDF losses and illegal cross-border trading would suffice for the entire illegal pools needs.
      It’s previously been stated in Parliament by a National Police Minister that ‘lawful’ civilian gun violence was responsible for 0.05 % of total ‘gun violence’, isn’t that insignificant enough.
      ‘Loss’ of civilian firearms is cleverly cloaked in firearm thefts, which account for 99.(% of so called ‘losses’. Unlike the police and private security, practically zero civilians actually ‘lose’ firearms.
      Death is not necessarily a bad side to guns because that’s what they were designed for, that is why cops wear them and criminals respect them. Criminals have no fear of capture, the police, the prisons, or defenceless people, they only fear being harmed, or worse. They only fear retribution by equivalent force, your force. If you have none, you are merely prey, just fodder.
      If you want to know the facts about assaults and injuries with firearms, ask the police, oh yeah we tried that, government placed a moratorium on those stats. As for civilian firearm ownership stats, try asking CFR, erm, they haven’t had an accurate or effective Firearm Registry for over 25 years, do you really think that’s going to change now. I think you may be a shill Kyle, go look it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. line was incomplete:
    – my concern in this regard are gun owners who “lose” their guns or get their’s stolen and act unreasonable in stressful situations.


    • If you compare those “losses” (they are in majority of cases stolen) in a per-capita basis,civilians lose considerably less firearms than the security forces do. Every R4 and R5 rifle used by a criminal is either ex-police or ex-military.

      I believe that a self-defence gun left in the safe is a liability, and that the more people we educate into carrying theirs, the greater difference it will make in the fight against crime.

      I would like to invite you to attend a training session with us, and so doing hopefully put some of your fears regarding gun owners to bed.


  5. It pertains to a sample size, not the total population of assault related deaths. Please note Page 3 of the release, Data and methods: “A total of 458 933 deaths that occurred in 2013 were registered at DHA and reached Stats SA in time for the 2014 data processing phase, thus forming the basis for this release.” Thus the statistics are in all likelihood valid.


  6. Downloaded the report – 2012 there were 491000 deaths. So its just a fraction thats not counted in this 2013 report. The assault category is way off if you compare with crime stats. It doesnt make sense.


    • The methodology of the 2012 report will likely be similar. The South African total annual deaths are roughly estimated between approximately 800 000 and 1 200 000 per year, dependant on which crude annual death rate per capita is used in the estimation.


  7. In that case total assault related deaths should be up to 15 000 per annum, which correlates with our crime statistics. The methodology used is not perfect, that is a fact. However, considering the data source used and the sheer size of the sample to analyse, I don’t think we will get more accurate statistics than this. Hence the importance of not focusing on the total number, which is meaningless, but rather on the proportions of causes of death.

    The whole point of this article is that far more people are killed by use of sharp objects each year, than by firearms. Hence the hysterical clamour for more gun control is misplaced.


  8. Deaths caused by guns should be seen in three broad categories.
    1) Deaths caused by criminals using firearms. Shops/house/cash in transit Farms murder’s etc.

    I suspect that this will be the greatest % of gun related deaths.
    This opinion is based on reading and watching the news and doing some research.

    2) Criminals shot/killed whilst they are committing some of the above armed robberies.
    This number should also include gang and drug murders which is also a great number.

    Unfortunately gang wars also kill innocents. Innocents deaths are therefore directly related to criminal activity and must be placed at the door of criminals and not legal gun owners.

    3) Other deaths by legal gun owners, This figure also includes family members killed by police officers. I suspect that family murders are really the minority.

    The Dewani murder can be seen as a criminal act by whomever. This and similar cases should also be placed at the door of criminals.

    Neither the stats by SA Stats or NIMMS give the detailed information required for a true reflection of gun related murders and crime . A properly funded research study is required to give the true accurate picture on gun deaths and who and what is responsible for SA having the highest crime rate in the world.

    Are legal gun owners really the cause and source of crime, corruption in SA?

    There are also many instances where responsible gun owners saved lives. There are a number of U-tube videos that clearly give evidence where South African (and other countries as well) gun owners saved the “day” lives.

    I personally saved one person from being murdered by five people, and that fact did not even make the local news. No shots where fired, So we will never know the true number of lives saved by responsible legal gun owners, sometimes by just showing that you are armed.

    However, the fact is, more people are murdered by knives and other means as per the official SA stats. Five people were killed at once by having their hands tied behind their backs and stoned and knifed to death in the Western Cape at the close of 2014.

    Where was the outcry from GFSA on these majority of deaths? Do GFSA condone murders committed by knifes and stones? The only people that mention murders committed by these means are the so called minority of legal gun owners ( as per GFSA web site description),

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Refer to pages 21 and 22 of the statistical release: Total non-natural deaths in the sample amounted to 47 219. This correlates with slide 32 of the presentation. Thus the 5019 assault-related deaths form 10,6% of the total sample size of non-natural death. Adjusted for completeness does not mean that it was adjusted to a projected figure of total estimated death: that would be horribly inaccurate.

    It refers to adjusting for the various criteria in the analysis: age, race, sex, etc.


  10. No Brian, they are not. Not even close. Even if you proportionally adjust the figure outwards to the 16 000 odd murder figure in our crime statistics, it gives a figure of roughly 300 people murdered each year by use of firearms. Considering that US statistics show that 6 out of every 7 gunshot wound victims survive, that could mean that up to 2100 people are shot each year, but 1800 survive the wounds. This is obviously speculation from my side, I do not have the figures, and is thus likely to be inaccurate.

    You read of far more people stabbed to death than shot to death, and that’s just in the media.


  11. I don’t know what your background is pertaining to statistical inference, probability, and description, but here is the definition of Completeness: “In statistics, completeness is a property of a statistic in relation to a model for a set of observed data. In essence, it is a condition which ensures that the parameters of the probability distribution representing the model can all be estimated on the basis of the statistic: it ensures that the distributions corresponding to different values of the parameters are distinct.”


  12. Brian, Hitting a person with your fists, kicking a person, throwing a brick at a person, hitting a person with a stick or other implement are all cases of assault. Saying that you are going to do something like the above is also an assault. Go ask you local police station for clarification.

    Sometimes people are beaten to death by their friend using some blunt instrument like a cricket bat. Sometimes people are killed with only one punch, Does this explanation make it clearer for you as to what assaults means?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ” This is obviously speculation from my side, I do not have the figures.” —– that’s my point!
    There are 16000 murders. Not 5000. We don’t know about 11000 of them. More than two thirds. Maybe the gun deaths are the ones that don’t get to stats sa. Maybe not. We don’t know. The data is unreliable.


    • No it is not. If you know anything about statistics, you would know that the larger a sample size is, the closer it will resemble a normal distribution. This means that the proportion of recorded variables will remain more or less the same for the bigger population, accounting for certain margins of error.

      The data is not unreliable, and the methodology is sound. Your unhappiness with it is rooted in the fact that you don’t understand how this presentation works: 5000 pertains to the SAMPLE SIZE, not the total POPULATION.

      There were considerably more than 450 000 deaths in South Africa during the 2012/2013 period, possibly more than 3 times as much.


  14. Look, I don’t think we are going to get to the bottom of this. All I’m saying is that there are clearly problems with the data and you can’t read too much into it.


    • Hence my advice to focus only on the proportions (percentages) and disregard the total figure pertaining to the sample size: that only tells you how many cases were analysed.

      The proportions is what gives the data value. If the 5019 cases of assault-related death were randomly sampled, their distribution should be approximately normal. This means that we should be very concerned by the amount of people stabbed to death each year, as any parent on the Cape Flats already knows.


  15. *Sigh* The data is sourced off of Death Certificates, criminal conviction has nothing to do with it. If person A does something to person B that results in their death, regardless of reason or nature of said action, it is categorized as death due to interpersonal violence.


  16. Let me ask you an entirely different question, Brian:

    What is your outlook on the right to self-defence?

    Do you believe people have the right to defend their lives, and access to the most effective tools with which to do so, if they so choose?

    In that same vein, do you also believe that criminals are not deterred or inhibited by gun control legislation?


  17. No, because as mentioned the proportions and methodology are valid. It is the statistics that will be used to guide government policy for the next year.

    Look at the graphs pertaining to the unnatural deaths for the past decade: the proportions between causes remained relatively steady and predictable, with 2000 being the year in which the most people ever were killed by use of firearms.

    We will obviously fundamentally differ on this, as illustrated.


  18. If you have a problem with the statistics, I recommend you take it up wit Stats SA. How can you equate using the entire statistical release from the official government statistics department as “cherry picking”, when no other detailed statistics on this subject matter are available? Rather petulant and ignorant thing to say, simply because you don’t understand how the methodology works.

    Refusing further discussion is not very gracious considering you refused to answer two simple questions I put to you, and that none of my numerous detailed explanations of this release were remotely satisfactory to you.

    Hmmm….do you work for GFSA?


  19. Numbers please? And source?

    The government has never refuted their own statistics. Living in South Africa you should be well acquainted with that fact by now.

    I find it amusing that my amateur projection done off the top of my head is now being quoted by you as source material.


  20. Let us entertain the possibility that firearms are responsible for a higher proportion of deaths.

    It will still not be remotely close to other causes of death.

    So where are we going with this argument?


  21. GFSA are NOT a reputable source at all, but let’s entertain this:

    We have among the strictest gun control legislation in the world, more restrictive and onerous than in most Industrialised Nations. Pretty severe stuff for a developing economy. Yet our violent crime rate, as shown by our crime statistics, is soaring.

    It is well known that there is no statistical relationship between less guns and less crime. There are numerous publications attesting to this fact.

    It is also known that to fight crime, you need an effective and efficient police force, crime intelligence unit, justice system, and correctional facilities.

    Up until such aspirations can be achieved, I think it would be more effective arming every responsible man and woman in this country, and allow them the most effective means to defend themselves, than to wait for the State to solve the problems plaguing their various departments.

    We failed at convicting 3 high-profile criminals last year: Oscar Pistorius, Shrien Dewani, Jub-Jub.

    How much trust can be put in a system to keep us safe?


    • Nope, you were trolling. You refused to listen to the counter argument, and supplied no reliable source data to the contrary. If you are unwilling or unable to debate like a grown-up adult, you can effectively piss off. Goodbye.


  22. The discussion does not make sense anymore. So no point in carrying on, but clearly your data don’t make any sense. Check out the crime stats for number of murders….


  23. Interesting fact when we select a non de plume to hide behind. Brian = no brain? Cannot accept official SA stats because he (or is it a she?) has better stats? Or all based on intuition?

    Liked by 1 person

      • “Sadly”? Nail that mother-sucker…..
        Did you ever try posting anything pro-gun or alternative to their view on the GFSA page, forget it. Nothing to see here, move on.

        This reminds me of a post I recently applauded on another forum, I thought it so good I had to copy it.
        Funny thing is.
        I was beginning to write a response to the gibberish which you’d just cut and pasted from various parts of the internet (Yes, I have google too) but then I realized that you refute yourself.

        I’m actually quite weary of dealing with cut-and-paste posts that are deliberately intended to be so long that they take more time to read than anyone actually has to spare, much less any time to answer.

        You are loud mouthed and boorish and anything you claim is meaningless as you don’t even bother to hide the fact that your argument is one sided At first it was funny to read, but you have rapidly become boring.

        So I’m off to better things and I’ll let you think you’ve ‘won’. That’s all you really want anyway. You’re not looking for actual truth, just answers that will corroborate what you want to believe. That’s why you make so many of them up yourself; along with your definitions.

        But you can have them. Besides, my father always said to let the asshole have the last word. You just had yours.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. One problem with GFSA web site is that they do not disclose the source of their stats. Nor do they allow comments or questions. A bit one sided from them don’t you think Brian?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. So, as suggested, on a whim I went to check out Gun Fearful South Africa’s site, (I’d post the URL but my keyboard collapses in on itself if I press those four letters in that order more than once a month).

    The site is mostly: ‘404 Error. Page Not Found. The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Please try the following:’

    On the upside however, what was available on their ‘under construction’ site were very useful links to (trust me, this is true) Guns, Gun-safes etc.

    Another interesting passage was “Don’t let the tiny minority of gun owners in South Africa dominate the gun control debate”, blah-blah rhubarb yaddah-yaddah.

    So apparently, South Africa has gone from being (their words) “Awash with guns” to having a “tiny minority of gun-owners” in the space of a year, clever stuff hey?

    Noticeable also was that Adele K is still the contact person for media enquiries on the site, yet whenever she makes a statement, or is quoted, she advertises herself as being from CSVR, not Give Freely Stop Repenting.

    Liked by 1 person

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