Editorial: It's time to disarm everyone

2018-06-10 11:44

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Guns are made to kill people. History traces the advent of guns to the Chinese, who invented black powder in the 9th century. The fire lance, invented by the Chinese in the 10th century, is said to be the predecessor of all firearms. At the time, they were used to kill during wars.

Fast forward to this year. Guns are still killing people.

In the past two weeks, news about gun-related killings has been gruesome and has, again, brought to the fore the debate about guns in the hands of members of the public.

On May 31, a woman in Soweto was pulled out of a taxi by her lover and shot dead. A few days later, a man killed his two daughters and son before turning the gun on himself in Germiston. And then there is the Ennerdale father who shot dead his 16-year-old son at school after mistakenly thinking he was a hijacker.

We have seen violent cash-in transit heists during which robbers use high-calibre weapons to force cash vans off the road and rob them. In the process, guards are injured or killed.

Criminals will go to extremes to get weapons, as shown by the robbery at the Eden Park Police Station on Thursday morning. Four police officers were held hostage by robbers who made off with a rifle and ammunition. In February, the Ngcobo Police Station was attacked and several firearms were stolen. The robbers left five police officers dead. Reinforcement arrived and a gun battle ensued with the members of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministries. Several people were killed and others were arrested.

Those who want to remain armed maintain that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That does not take away from the fact that guns are designed to kill.

With 19 016 people killed in the 2016/17 financial year, South Africa is undoubtedly a violent nation. While all murders cannot be attributed to gun violence, the stats show we kill each other – period.

Gun ownership is not a solution if we want a safe South Africa. Often, guns are used against loved ones instead of being used as protection against criminals.

South Africa should move very quickly towards disarming the civilian population and ensuring that the only guns in circulation are those in the hands of law enforcement agencies and accredited security companies.

We should all say “no” to guns.

Read more on:    crime

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