2007-01-05 : Outlaw the ownership of guns

http://www.capetimes.co.za <br>
ctletters@inl.co.za (was ctletters@ctn.independent.co.za)<br>
Fax: 021 488 4744

Moderator: GenMod

2007-01-05 : Outlaw the ownership of guns

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-01-10 13:53

Outlaw the ownership of guns, and mayhem in our communities will misfire

January 05, 2007 Edition 1

THIS Christmas season has seen the usual depressing litany of stories from around the country, of husbands shooting wives, criminals shooting cops, people blowing their brains out with guns, children dying in shooting accidents, and the general mayhem and chaos associated with our armed-to-the-teeth society.

And, as in the classical definition of a litany (that of a series of prayer invocations which are followed by an unvarying response), any call to outlaw guns is followed by the hackneyed "if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will carry guns". That's the gun lobby/Charlton Heston/George Bush-type response, and actually, I agree with it.

Outlaw guns, and then, indeed, only outlaws will carry guns, and we can deal with them. Send them to jail for life. Seize all their assets, down to the last item of bed linen. Name them and shame them. Let there be no option of a fine.

Then let's see what happens to the crime rates in this country. Because it has now become abundantly clear that there is a major criminal element in this country that kills with impunity and immunity. Our over-burdened, over-stretched, under-resourced police do excellent work in many instances, but they are being overwhelmed. Murderers know that in most cases they will get away with it, so why not kill your victims rather than risk being identified?

Why not kill the woman you have just raped so she can't pick you out in an identity parade? Why not use maximum force in that cash heist, when you know you can get away with millions and live the life of Reilly?

And, if the current bid to disarm Somalia is even vaguely successful, rest assured that tens of thousands of AK47s, and other weapons fresh from the frontline, will start flooding into South Africa.

Already yesterday there were reports from Mogadishu that the marketplace price of an AK had dropped from $300 to $200 overnight, in anticipation of the disarmament.

South Africa is already awash in AKs and other weapons from the long civil wars in Mozambique and Angola, and it's a short dhow trip or container-load ride down the East African coast from Baidoa or Mogadishu to SA.

Just this week, one of our readers, Brian Gray of Glencairn, made the very valid point that 18 739 South Africans were murdered in the 2005/6 financial year, and most of those would have been shot. He compared this to the 2006 calendar year in Iraq, during which 13 896 Iraqis died - 12 357 civilians, 1 128 police and 411 soldiers, according to revised figures published yesterday by the Associate Press.

Granted, there are an estimated 26.8million Iraqis, compared to 46.8million South Africans, but given that Iraq is the most violent place on earth, the figures are chilling - we must certainly be the most violent country in the world outside of the major war zones.

Even as I write this, I can hear the pens of the pro-gun lobby being hauled out to protest "but look at Britain, and how the gun violence is going up despite the ban on handguns". Well, I won't even go there because I've been there, done that in the past.

Where I will go, is Australia (not physically, like some of my compatriots, but in a journalistic way).

In 1966, Martin Bryant, described as a "half-witted loner", shot dead 35 people at a scenic tourist spot near Port Arthur, Tasmania. In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, the Australian government banned the sale of semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns.

They also set in place a huge buyback of weapons, and a weapons amnesty, that saw over 700 000 guns being handed in and destroyed. That was just over 10 years ago.

Now University of Sydney researcher Simon Chapman has tracked gun deaths in Australia since the amnesty and mass weapons destruction. His findings are startling, to say the least.

Firearm deaths in Australia have halved since 1996.

While in the 17-year period prior to the Port Arthur massacre, firearm deaths were dropping by an average of 3% a year, this doubled to an annual 6% drop after the ban. He was quoted yesterday as saying that "the Australian example provides evidence that removing large numbers of firearms from a community can be associated with a sudden and ongoing decline in mass shootings, and accelerating declines in total firearm-related deaths, firearm homicides and firearm suicides".

It has to be clear to any rational South African that our level of violence, and particularly gun-related violence, has become an epidemic, an epidemic that is rapidly spiralling out of control.

And despite mutterings about crime and violence by the politicians, nothing concrete has emerged.

Perhaps 2007 will be the year in which enough high-profile South Africans will be shot dead that the state finally makes the mere possession of a firearm a criminal offence punishable by jail time.

Tony Weaver has gone fishing. Man Friday will resume on January 26.
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
Site Admin
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

Letter in reply : Gun ban no solution

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-01-10 13:57


Gun ban no solution

January 08, 2007 *Edition 1*


As authors of Gun Laws and Sudden Death: Did the Australian Firearms Legislation of 1996 Make a Difference? (British Journal of Criminology, October 2006), we note Tony Weaver's reference to the latest in a line of studies demonstrating that Australia's massive gun buyback did not impact on firearm homicide ("Outlaw the ownership of guns", January 5).

Study author Simon Chapman, former convener of a gun prohibition lobby group, used different statistics to arrive at virtually identical results to ours: the pre-existing downward trend in firearm homicides did not increase after 1996.

Firearm suicide (accounting for most firearm deaths) dropped more rapidly after the laws. Suicides using other methods also started declining, highlighting the likely influence of suicide prevention programmes across the board.

Caution is paramount; therefore Chapman's misleading conclusion that Australia's gun laws impacted upon already declining rates of firearm misuse is disappointing. He places all his eggs in a half-billion dollar ban-and-buyback basket, without a word about alternative methods of delivering public health and safety outcomes.

In contrast, our research suggests policy-makers should consider a diversity of evidence-based violence reduction initiatives, as well as improved mental health services, to benefit the community overall.

Unquestioning faith in gun laws despite growing contradictory evidence serves ideology, not safety.

Banning guns is a reaction to violence, not a solution.

Dr Jeanine Baker and
Samara McPhedran
Sydney, Australia
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
Site Admin
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

2007-01-08 : AK-47s everywhere

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-01-10 14:00


AK-47s everywhere

January 08, 2007 *Edition 1*


I have some bad news for Tony Weaver (January 5) - AK-47s have already been outlawed.

Only a few dedicated collectors have the necessary licences to own one.

Yet, as Weaver states, South Africa is "awash in AKs" - clearly the outlaws have their guns.

And it is abundantly clear that we cannot "deal with them". The outlaws are winning.

Crime is already illegal. Making more laws, instead of enforcing the laws we have, is not the solution.

*Wouter de Waal
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
Site Admin
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

Return to Cape Times

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest