Monday, 5 September 2011

Gun Control Heaven for Criminals

Gun Control in South Africa

The subject of Firearms (guns in colloquial terms) raises emotive responses from many. Somewhere in recent times guns have become taboo. Apparently many people have been infected with the strange idea 'guns kill people' as if an inanimate piece of metal has a will of it's own. This impression seems to have invaded the highest level of society - the law makers. 

Here in South Africa, our erstwhile leaders have made it exceedingly difficult for normal law-abiding citizens to own firearms (guns) through gun control legislation, while at the same time it would seem that every criminally minded individual has at least one gun.

This gun control legislation is "intended to reduce the level of gun related crime"! How can depriving decent law abiding citizens the right to defend life and property be conducive to reducing gun related crime, when illegal firearms are apparently readily available. And I don't mean just illegal (stolen) guns. Military weapons such as AK47's and others are abundant on the African continent. After all the civil wars and 'liberation struggles' both in my nation and in surrounding countries have left numerous caches of these weapons.

In my own country, crime is rampant. More disturbingly is the extremely high percentage of minor crime, common theft, muggins intended to deprive victims of small items; cellphones, cheap wristwatches and so on, where guns are used by the perpetrators in the performance of their misdeeds.

Criminals WANT Gun Control

Gun Control: Only criminals shall have guns

This appears to be what our law makers are imposing on us. Our gun ownership laws are making it more and more difficult for law abiding citizens to purchase new firearms or to hold on to ones they already legally own. The requirements have become so stringent many gun owners have simply relinquished their firearms, either voluntarily, or because they failed to obtain a licence to own under the terms of the new legislation.

While decent people lose the right to protect their loved ones, criminals with no regard to law simply obtain illegal weapons which they use freely to prey on these decent citizens.

Significantly, there are as many illegal firearms now (if not more) than there were prior to the introduction of these punitive laws.

One handgun per owner

That's right, even for those who qualify to own a firearm, in the vast majority of instances, they are permitted only one hand gun each. Even hunters are affected, one rifle and one shotgun per owner. Yes, there are some exceptions for 'dedicated hunters', and 'sport shooters'; getting included in these categories is by no means easy, even for genuine hunters and sport shooters.

The anti-gun idiots lobby will say that is already too many. However, consider one of the basic requirements of responsible gun ownership; protect your firearm, do not let your firearm be stolen!

It may seem extreme to the uninitiated, but many of the experts in the field of real gun control, i.e. looking after and holding on to the control of one's firearm, have recommended that one of the best ways to keep ones gun within their own control is to have a SECOND firearm as a backup. I have known many individuals involved in law enforcement (policing), state security (military) and personal security who consider a second weapon essential. In at least one scenario this gun control law impacts negatively on legitimate owners; when a legal owner is forced to use said gun to protect life and property, that gun is immediately impounded pending forensic investigation, and legal proceedings, first of all to determine if the shooting was within the law, and secondly as evidence in any ensuing law case. In the meantime, the legal owner is deprived of his means to protect himself and family, and cannot obtain another firearm (1 gun per owner!), for as long as it takes for the procedures to be completed, often numerous years.

Hunter Gun Control

Many hunters, not only those who are full time professionals have a need for a range of firearms. Often a light calibre high velocity rifle for smaller game, and a heavier calibre rifle for large game would be required. I am a hunter. I hunt only for meat. I am a carnivore. I eat meat. I don't want to hear from the bunny-huggers out there. If you eat any meat, then you have no moral grounds to object. The killing of animals in commercial abattoirs is more distressing to the animal than a quick clean kill in it's natural environment. And that is without mentioning the horrendous methods used to produce farm animals commercially.

My preferred rifle is a Sig Sauer firing a 708 Rem cartridge. Light and compact, and versatile enough for most game and situations. But I am only an occasional hunter (unfortunately) I would PREFER to hunt ALL the meat I consume, just as I prefer to catch all the fish I eat. And prefer to grow the vegetables as well.

And again, before the bunny-huggers object. All hunters strive for a one-shot take down... And we practice to achieve this level of competence. And when it does go wrong, any ethical hunter - and most of us meat hunters are ethical - will track down the injured animal, and assist another hunter to do so too. But that's another subject all in itself.
Responsible gun ownership and use

Our law makers may have a point with the gun control laws. A very large percentage of our citizenry do not have the level of education, experience in such matters, nor the moral or ethical background by upbringing or traditional culture, to become responsible gun owners. I do not want to discuss the political and socio-economic reasons underlying this fact.

However, just because the majority of our people should not be allowed anywhere near a firearm, does not mean that the remainder of the population should be disadvantaged, left undefended at the hands of criminals.

From a personal perspective; I grew up with an air rifle in my hands from an early age. I was TAUGHT responsible handling and use of firearms from the age of 8 years. At 53 years of age, I have lived through the compulsory military service subscription era, have been somewhat involved in civil law enforcement, have carried handguns, belonged to pistol shooting clubs and even given basic level handgun training to novices. I have only once had to use a firearm - in the protection of human life! And I am thankful on that occasion I was carrying a gun. Or else more than likely other people would have suffered or lost their lives.

So my final words to all you anti-gun fruitcakes lobbyists. I sincerely hope that when your life or the life of a loved one is threatened by a criminal with an illegal firearm, there will remain at least one responsible citizen who has not been deprived of the privilege to carry a weapon, to protect you and those you care about from the numerous thugs who seek to cause you harm.

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