By Richard Best
With Women’s Month being upon us the usual anti-gun media reports have started again, and the same tired story and lack of factual information or reasonable thinking are on display. This latest article on News24 completely ignores the fact that there are literally millions of happy homes in SA that have guns in them, and instead opt to bring us this drivel: “The mere threat of a gun in the home is abuse in itself and will have devastating long-term effects on a family,” as if it were a fact. The fact that having them in the homes has had positive long term effects on the family by allowing people to defend themselves from attackers, and that one of the fastest growing segments in firearm ownership are women, is completely ignored. I suppose that leading the article with the comment that ”unfortunately in today’s times, the message has to be harsh in order for people to listen,” it is inevitable that they would invent something in order to craft a message that suited their agenda. Especially when legal gun owners are proven to be one of the most law abiding segments of our entire society. I have no issue with disarming a violent offender, but the mental gymnastics on display here is patently ridiculous.
Considering that I have an interest in the well-being of women, I would like to provide a message of my own. Sadly, many women are harmed by people that they know or by intimate partners. This is regrettable, but the notion of removing firearms is misguided for the following reason: women in abusive relationships need to remove themselves from those relationships completely and as soon as possible. The threat isn’t from an inanimate object, but from an abusive person. I am personally aware of women who have been strangled and stabbed to death by their partners, and the fact that over 80% of assault related deaths in SA are caused by sharp objects proves that one doesn’t need a gun to kill or intimidate someone.
I am highly cognisant of the reality that leaving an abusive relationship isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but it is disingenuous to argue that by removing a single implement will somehow have the desired result, as opposed to empowering women to realise their worth and their rights. We must provide support for women to leave abusive relationships. Of course, if a woman is afraid of her partner there are already avenues that she can, and should, follow to get help and keep him away from her. It is perfectly possible to have an abuser’s firearm removed from his possession if he isn’t a suitable candidate to own one.
There is also good news for women who feel that they need to protect themselves from people, including partners, that are trying to harm them. There is a group of women that are there to guide you and assist you with personal protection: meet the GOSA Girls on Fire group, run and promoted by women who own gun shops, run gun shops, and fight for women’s rights to defend themselves. Neither gun ownership nor the right to defend ones life are exclusive to men, and this is certainly something that should be embraced by women.
Richard works in the firearm dealership industry, is an accredited IFTA firearm instructor, and owns Best Sport & Defence.