Over the past weekend the pro-crime victim-disarmament lobby again made the claim that licensed gun owners lose thousands of guns annually, and are criminal’s primary source of firearms. This claim is unsubstantiated, incorrect, and contradictory to all other credible research and reporting on this topic.
Allow me a moment to aggressively dissect this. Also please pardon my language at the end, and my total lack of reverence.
- The guns stolen from actual civilians are stolen. They are not lost via negligence or corruption, but to criminal acts because the SAPS cannot fulfil its constitutional mandate. Which is to secure the citizens of the republic and their property against crime and violence. The previous National Commissioner, Khehla Sithole, admitted this to Parliament in October 2018 And the situation has only worsened since then.
- Section 20 firearms stolen from (or lost by) security companies, parastatals (Parks Board, Cape Nature, Eskom, PRASA, etc.), metro police, and traffic police are counted as civilian losses. They grossly over-inflate the real numbers. Yet this issue never makes it into the press.
- There are an extensive number of illegitimate security companies owned by gangs and mafias (especially the Taxi Mafia) who fraudulently obtained real S20 licenses. They use these weapons for gang warfare and hits, and other criminal activities. Any of these guns reported as lost or stolen, or recovered from a crime scene, will be counted as a civilian loss. Mark Shaw extensively documented the scope of this problem in his book Give us More Guns.
- Gang members and criminals have succeeded in exploiting corruption within the CFR in order to fraudulently obtain real firearm licences. These individuals have extensive criminal records, and are obviously not fit and proper to legally own guns. Yet they have no problems in obtaining licences (the process again detailed by Mark Shaw). If their guns are lost or stolen, it will also count as a “civilian firearm loss”.
From the above it should be painfully obvious that the numbers reported in the media are horrendously flawed and a completely unreliable indicator of reality. All of the necessary and important details are completely obscured and left out. But this is in any event not the correct argument to get sucked into. Gun control as a whole has miserably failed in South Africa. Firearm ownership organisations predicted as much years ago.
There is zero evidence that stronger firearm legislation will achieve a lower crime or murder rate. There is extensive evidence that it will not – please see Wits School of Governance report as commissioned by the CSP. Instead it recommends that the focus be squarely placed on strengthening policing and the criminal justice system. I’ll let you be the judge of just how well that’s been going.
“But mass shootings!”
What of them? They are predominantly mafia-style hits carried out by criminals for economic gain. Some of them are politically-driven, others by organised crime syndicates like Zama Zamas. Disgracefully, even former-Hawks officials are involved in the perpetration of these massacres – the very people who are supposed to be upholding law and order. Blaming lawful gun owners for mass shootings is patently idiotic and ridiculous.
More generally, criminals use guns in about 35% of all our homicides. Gun control is not a relevant issue when we are talking about reducing crime and violence. Explain to me how gun control legislation affects the Zama Zamas who run around with brand new belt-fed PKM machine guns?
Spoiler: it doesn’t.
But that isn’t the point. GFSA exist for one purpose, and one purpose only: total civilian disarmament. They are not interested in a safer, more secure South Africa. They are only interested in one where the state and criminals (difficult to differentiate between the two on a good day) holds the sole monopoly on armed force and violence. And they will not allow reality to shatter their reckless and criminal ideological myopia.
The state can fail at its mandate and policing can collapse in its entirety, and the anti-self-defence lobby will still demand that ordinary citizens be left completely vulnerable to violence and criminal predation.
They are a pro-crime victim-disarmament cult.
Written by Gideon Joubert.