The previous instalment of 7 stubborn gun ownership myths that plainly refuse to kick the bucket was well received, but it was unfortunately not exhaustive – there are plenty more strange, stupid, and just-plain-crazy stories out there that masquerade as the truth.
1. Your FCA “White Card” licence replaces your old “Green Card” licence
I recently did a write-up explaining Judge Bill Prinsloo’s 2009 North Gauteng High Court ruling, so I do not feel that it is necessary to go into it all again. The premise of South African law is that it requires nothing more than plain English interpretation. Judge Prinsloo ordered that all licences previously considered valid were to remain valid – he did not make any exceptions to his order, and he said absolutely nothing about people who applied for new FCA licences being excluded from benefitting from it. It is the opinion of not only GOSA’s legal counsel, but a broad spectrum of advocates and attorneys who specialise in firearm-related law that this is in fact true. I am therefore not even remotely hesitant to refer to it as a consensus among legal minds, and consider the matter as settled: all “Green Card” and ID book licences are valid. The next time somebody disputes this, ask them what exactly their legal qualifications happen to be. That usually settles the argument rather expeditiously.
2. Car holsters are a good idea
We’ve all seen those sexy, sexy pieces of Kydex and leather that some people have retrofitted (in a variety of ingenious ways) to the interior of their car. I suppose I should be ruefully thankful that the sort of person who gravitates towards this type of gimmick will at least not be driving with their “gat” wedged under their thigh anymore. The honest truth is that these things are a bad idea. As bad as drinking out of an open sewer next to an abattoir in the middle of Mumbai. For what conceivable reason do you want to wilfully separate yourself from your firearm in a situation where you most need it? Because that is exactly what is going to happen if you get pulled from your vehicle – you are going to be outside with the bad men, and your gun is going to stay behind in the car. This is not a good thing. Also, considering the dubious manner in which many of these things are mounted, in the event of an accident there is going to be a high likelihood of your firearm flying off somewhere, and goodness knows where it is going to come to a stop. Both of these lessons were learnt the hard way by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 1986 FBI Miami shootout. A number of special agents died that day because they became separated from their weapons in the aftermath of a car chase. Carry your firearm where it belongs: in a holster on your body.
3. “Plastic” handguns are rubbish / blow-up all the time
This is a gun forum favourite – some fellow finds a photo (minus all relevant context, of course) of a Glock (usually a Glock) that has spilled its guts and blown its top in a ballistically impressive fashion. It is just metal shavings and plastic splinters – the very picture of polymer anguish. Within minutes the keyboard vultures will descend upon the carcass: “Should have bought a CZ!” “You won’t see that happen to a 1911!” “Peh! Glockfag should have stuck to shooting revolvers, like a real mayun!” “I have been shooting a Browning HP for literally 3000 years, and put 200 rounds through it, and it never did this!” You get the drill. Sadly for these Birds of Offal, any handgun, regardless of what material it is made of, will blow up if the shooter creates the correct conditions for said firearm to explode. The usual culprit is a reloading experiment gone horribly awry. I have seen Glocks blow their stacks due to out-of-limits ammunition (it is impressive to witness), only for them to be put back together and function perfectly fine. There are plenty of pictures of whatever your favourite gun happens to be lying in pieces on somebody’s desk. Even CZs and 1911s. Just go Google it.
4. The best caliber for a woman is .22LR
Oh my. I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing whomever is propagating this pearl of wisdom doesn’t get laid particularly often. Now look, .22LR has some great features: it’s cheap, it has no recoil, it isn’t very loud, and it is fun. What it is not, is particularly useful for anything more than target shooting and varminting. It is most certainly not a remotely respectable cartridge for self-defence, and having seen plenty of .22 pistols suffer failures on range, it is frankly not a reliable enough platform either. Is it better than a pointy stick? Maybe, maybe not – it depends how pointy the stick is. I have seen women shoot all handgun calibers, from 9mmP all the way to .44 Magnum. I have seen them run IPSC stages with 12-gauge shotguns. I have seen women shoot rifles of all bores, be it .223 Remington or .50 BMG. The idea that they somehow cannot handle, and enjoy, firearms in calibers larger than .22 is grandiosely stupid. Almost as stupid as telling them .38 Special snub-nosed revolvers are just what they need.
5. Shooting an unarmed attacker will get you locked up.
South African law does not differentiate between an armed and unarmed attacker. The only requirements for the use of lethal force, is that an imminent or ongoing attack, which is potentially life-threatening in its nature, is initiated against an innocent third-party. There have been several high-profile cases in South African media the past few years regarding people who shot dead unarmed attackers, and were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by the court. It is important to understand that just because an assailant is not armed, it does not mean that they cannot effectively kill. Context is, however, of extreme importance, such as when there is a notable size and age difference between the attacker and the defender – one cannot expect a frail, 75-year-old woman to effectively defend herself against an “unarmed” 90 kilogram man in his late 20s that seeks to do her harm by use of only her bare hands. It would therefore obviously be completely justifiable for her to use lethal force to stop the attack. In contrast, an average-sized man would probably struggle to motivate why he had to shoot an unarmed person half his size, unless he was being attacked by Jackie Chan. Like all things in the realm of lethal force, context is everything, and oversimplification is usually nothing more than nonsense.
Written by Gideon Joubert
Gideon is owner and editor of Paratus