THE Las Vegas massacre is shocking proof that guns are made to kill, according to Adèle Kirsten, the director of Gun Free South Africa.
Gun violence was preventable, she said. Evidence from South Africa, and globally, showed that reducing access to guns through strong gun laws saved lives by reducing gun violence.
As a result of the introduction of South Africa’s Firearms Control Act in 2000, gun deaths halved over a 10-year period – from 34 gun deaths a day in 1998 to 18 in 2009, she said.
But then something went wrong.
“From 2010 there has been a steady breakdown in South Africa’s firearms control management system, and thousands of people are being shot – in political assassinations, armed robberies, taxi disputes and family murder-suicides.”
In one instance, 2 400 guns in SAPS stores were stolen by a police officer in charge of securing firearms earmarked for destruction, and sold to gang lords in the Western Cape.
Thus far, said Kirsten, 888 of these stolen guns had been forensically linked to 1 066 shooting related-deaths, of which 89 were children.
“Unlike in the US, which has limited gun controls as leaders in the gun lobby’s pocket oppose any move to regulate gun ownership, South Africa has a gold-standard gun law. But the added. law can save lives only if it is “Their lack of moral guidance enforced,” she said. and concern with power
Poor politics is what’s pulling the enforcement of trigger and killing people in the Firearms daily mass shootings across Control Act the country. since 2010, and “While we have not experienced associated rising so large a mass shooting gun deaths, as Las Vegas, at least 16 to could be directly blamed on 18 people – men, women and South Africa’s leaders, she children – are shot and killed every day in South Africa.
“And in one night, 11 young men were shot and killed in Philippi, with 28 people shot in the same area over the last three weeks.”
According to news reports, said Kirsten, these men were neighbourhood patrollers, and were forced to take action against crime and gangsterism in their community because the police refused to patrol after dark.
“It does not have to be like this. The Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has been asked by Gun Free SA to take decisive action.
“Mop up the illegal pool of guns in our communities and ensure that the Firearms Control Act is strengthened and enforced to significantly reduce access to firearms. Or, if you’re really serious about taking action, be bold and declare South Africa gun free,” she said.
By Staff reporter
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