Firearm Murder in South Africa – the facts

There is so much misinformation out there with distorted facts and selective analysis about crimes committed with firearms in South Africa. The pro gun lobby would let us believe that if guns were outlawed only outlaws would have guns, and to support their claims they regularly cite the few cases where a legal gun owner either defended himself successfully with his firearm or prevented a crime from happening.

Here are some startling facts:

South Africa has one of the highest murder rates by firearm. 21.51 People out of every 100,000 die by the gun. In contrast to this incredibly high number Japan has fewer than 0.06 deaths by firearm. Even our neighbor, Zimbabwe has almost 200 times less deaths by firearm than South Africa, coming in at 0.12 deaths per 100,000.

Japan has managed to reduce its gun related crimes to almost zero by making it virutually impossible to own a gun. They have some of the most onerous gun ownership regimes in the world. In fact, in 2006 only two gun related murders occurred in Japan.

Although we don’t have accurate statistics about illegal gun ownership in South Africa, estimates vary from between 1 – 6 million. We are however not talking about unlicensed guns. In fact, the majority of these firearms are stolen from the legal gun owner and then used in a crime. In 2014 the police and defense force had around 2,000 firearms stolen and 5,500 stolen from private citizens. 

There is no logical argument in support of citizen gun ownership. We need a gun free society in order to become a crime free society.

Marthinus Strydom

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