2006-08-14 : Gun owners hit back at proposed legal changes


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2006-08-14 : Gun owners hit back at proposed legal changes

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2006-08-14 14:10


Gun owners hit back at proposed legal changes

Johannesburg, South Africa

14 August 2006 10:38

Empirical evidence suggests that gun control is a "total failure" in curbing crime, the organisation Gun Owners of South Africa (Gosa) said on Monday.

"It creates a community where only the government, which is then free to abuse its power as was the case in apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and criminals own firearms," said Gosa coordinator Charl van Wyk.

Responding to a submission by Institute for Security Studies researcher Guy Lamb at the first public hearing on proposed amendments to the Firearms Control Act, Van Wyk said gun control denies the public the "most effective means of protecting themselves".

"This Unisa [University of South Africa] study which was presented by Mr Guy Lamb is once again abused by means of misrepresentation of statistics and denial of historically proven facts to blame the legal firearm owner for the government's inability to eradicate crime, and to simultaneously justify the disarmament of the public, which is the common denominator of all oppressive regimes," he said.

According to Lamb's submission, murder committed with firearms has decreased by 50% in South Africa's three largest cities since 2001, which can be attributed to the success of the Firearms Control Act.

But Van Wyk said the study conceals the fact that the Act is aimed at legal firearm owners despite statistics released by Parliament indicating that legal firearm owners are only responsible for 0,05% of crime, a figure that is statistically insignificant.

"It is strange that Mr Lamb failed to reveal the fact that the murder rate per 100 000 already showed a massive and constant decline since 1994 from 69,5 in that year to 47,8 in 2002, according to figures released by the Institute of Security Studies.

"The decline to which Lamb refers is only a continuation of this trend," said Van Wyk.

He said the only "successes" attributable to the Act is the bankruptcy of about 500 firearm dealers, an increase in unemployment, damage to the hunting industry and "the legalised theft of public property".

"Gosa appeals to the public to do everything within their power to retain their firearms and not to be discouraged by the unnecessary cost and trouble imposed on them by this Gestapo-type legislation," he said.

Public submissions on two amendments to the Firearms Control Act continue. The amendments include regulating the use of silencers and compelling gun owners to renew their licences every five years. -- Sapa
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