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