A very important topic in South Africa is to do with firearms and our rights to our personal security. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not in the belief that everyone should have the right to bear a bazooka, M82, or AK-47 * – not unless you have to defend yourself against an army **.
However, I do believe that I have the right to own a weapon of some sort for the purpose of self defense. I doubt I’d ever purchase a firearm however, not even a small pistol, but I’d prefer to think that should the need arise, I still have the right.
There are 2 opposing teams. There’s the pro-gun team and the anti-gun team (pro-control). I once thought that it would be okay for, say, the pro-control team to win all the battles until we get down to where only small firearms are allowed, or perhaps larger firearms under very strict circumstances. Recently, my thinking has shifted. If the pro-control team wins all the legal battles up to that point, what’s to say they won’t win the next battle as well and outlaw firearms completely?
I’m on the pro-gun team simply because I believe that I should have the right to own, possibly, that small pistol – which in a way is silly because I’ll probably never exercise the right. Its most definitely not pointless however. Again, I’d rather have the right and not need it.
Picture this highly unlikely scenario: You want to protect your right to own a small pistol; personal bazookas and gatling cannons are legal; legislation is in place to start making bazookas and gatling cannons illegal. Assuming you’re pro-pistol, should you stand aside and let the opposing team (pro-control) win that legal battle? Its an important moral dilemma to think about – and one that you should probably apply to all your other political beliefs.
Here is some food for thought:
- South Africa has the highest (or second-highest, depending on who you ask) crime rate in the world.
- 98% of gun-related crime in South Africa involve the use of illegal (unlicensed) firearms (ie, gun control laws do not adequately curb gun-related crime).
- Due to relatively recent changes in firearms laws requiring the re-licensing of all previously-licensed firearms, the CFR (Central Firearms Register) has been tasked, for the period of 2006 to 2009, to process more than four times the number of license applications each year than ever previously processed in an individual year.
- It now takes between 12 and 24 months to get a firearms license.
To be honest, I’m still of two minds on this one. I’m very much in favour of being responsible for our country’s firearms – but I certainly don’t want the pro-control group to make any more “progress”.
Maybe the world could learn a thing or 2 from the Swiss. Their citizenry has been armed to the teeth since the 19th century – and they’re also the only country to have stayed out of both World Wars.
* For those who do own firearms, I sincerely hope you’re not delusional about the dangers. I hope you have the ammunition stored in a safe separate from your firearm’s own safe, and that everyone in the household understands and respects how dangerous firearms really are.
** Not likely.