Gun Control Madness

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If there’s one issue that is able to unite all South Africans, it’s the gun issue. Black and white, we both luurve our guns.

Which is why stories like this one come as no surprise to me. A group of black gun-owners were protesting the draconian Firearms Control Act, and the government responded by sending in the riot cops. This is exactly what many us of were afraid of; that any gun control measures will inevitably be accompanied by an expansion of state power, and, eventually, a rise in the crime level.

I’m glad to see black gun-owners taking an active part in the fight against this law. Perhaps they’ll help to break the perception that gun-owners are a small group of crazy white rednecks. In the US, groups like the Pink Pistols serve as a reminder that gun ownership benefits the weakest members of society. Without guns, the strong will always dominate. But with a gun, even an 81-year old grandmother will have an even chance at defending herself against a 22-year old mugger.

That said, I don’t like the racial rhetoric which was employed by the black gun-owners. They claim that the Firearms Control act is “aimed at disarming the black population, rendering [them] defenceless”. Um, not exactly. The government has been completely even-handed on this one – the law is aimed at disarming the entire population, regardless of race!

Instead of asking for special treatment on the grounds of race, black and white gun-owners alike should work together to fight this terrible law. The Firearms Control Act was originally sold as a way to prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals. Legitimate gun owners, we were told, would still be able to purchase guns after undergoing a competency test. But the bureaucracy, which administers those tests, has used its power to transform in the law into a total ban on gun sales. This is undemocratic, and completely goes against the spirit of the legislative process – although, to be honest, a total gun ban is probably what the framers of the law had in mind.

There’s very little that anyone can do about this. The government has long since made up its mind that it is anti-gun. They were unmoved by appeals throughout the long consultative process that preceded the drafting of the Firearms Control Act, despite the fact that all empirical evidence is strongly on the pro-gun side. There is no way that they will change their opinions now, after the law is force. We can only hope that in time, they will see this law for the madness that it really is.