Opinionista Jonathan Deal 21 June 2021

Carrying a gun is a civilised act; disarming civilians will give criminals a monopoly on force

People opposed to guns claim that guns drive homicides, but is this a suitable explanation for the murder rate in South Africa? Is the gun an invention that fosters evil behaviour, or do humans possess a capacity for evil that predates modern firearms?

Jonathan Deal

Jonathan Deal is the founder and national coordinator of Safe Citizen and an SAPS-licensed firearms instructor.

Guns have been part of society for more than a thousand years, when they first appeared as bamboo tubes that propelled a type of spear. In contemporary society, quite apart from the traditional use of guns for hunting, sport shooting and self-defence, it is a gun — or perhaps the threat of the application of a gun — that underpins the rule of law, lending ultimate enforceability to the decision of a court or the defence of a national border.

As attractive as the prospect of a world without any guns may be to anyone of the view that an ideal society is gun-free in every respect, it is simply unrealistic. The South African Police Service, metro police, SA National Defence Force, prisons units, anti-poaching units in national parks, border patrols and the commercial security industry rely on guns to back up their authority.

We protect our ministers, assets, celebrities and visiting dignitaries with guns, we lawfully use guns for hunting and competitive sport shooting and we rely on them for self-defence against a life-threatening attack. Whether we like it or not, guns are intrinsic to civilisation. A firearm removes the disparity in physical strength, size or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender and is realistically the only personal weapon that puts a 60kg woman on an equal footing with a 120kg attacker.

German author Marko Kloos argues that force has no place as a valid method of social interaction. Kloos maintains that the only thing that effectively removes unlawful force from the menu is the personal firearm. If one considers that the sum of all human interactions can be reduced to either reason or force, it follows that when the norms of civilised society fail to uphold the rules by reason or oral persuasion, the rules are broken or enforced using any weapon or by threatening to use one.

People opposed to guns claim that guns drive homicides, but is this a suitable explanation for the murder rate in South Africa? Is the gun an invention that fosters evil behaviour, or do humans possess a capacity for evil that predates modern firearms? 

In 14th-century England, long before guns were around, the homicide rate was estimated to be around 110 per 100,000 in a population of about 2,500,000 — that is more than three times South Africa’s current homicide level in a population that was 24 times smaller than the population of South Africa today. Many murders take place without a gun.

The capacity for evil in animals confirms instances of sadistic cruelty — from a cat playing with a mouse prior to killing it, to chimpanzees who will systematically cannibalise their young, and it is clear that a similar capacity is present in every human.

Ben Wilson of the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness, UK asserts that “arguably the real mystery lies not in the origin of ‘evil’ behaviours but in the fact that humans now generally view these [unsocial] behaviours as distasteful — even though deception, selfishness and other ‘evil’ traits appear to be widespread in nature, and generally beneficial for the survival of genes, animals and species”.  

John Armstrong, a British writer and philosopher at The School of Life, sees a gulf between human aspiration for justice and ethics and the laws of nature. Often we feel that something that is “evil” is against the natural order of things, or, as Armstrong puts it, “at odds with everything one might hope for”. But perhaps the opposite is actually true: it is “bad” behaviour that is natural and successful. “What’s surprising is how amazingly well (though still very imperfectly) human beings have tried to reverse this natural arrangement,” he says.

The anti-gun establishment asserts that physical confrontations are made more lethal by a gun. In any physical confrontation the winner is the physically superior participant. Thus, any human with an evil intention against another and the determination to make it happen will find a suitable weapon. In countries where public gun possession is severely curtailed or banned, criminals turn to other methods of murder. Take as examples the experience of mass stabbings in Japan and knife-related crimes in the United Kingdom, where (in the UK) 43,516 knife crime offences were recorded in the 12 months ending March 2019 — an 80% increase from the low point in the year ending March 2014. Japan, coincidentally, is one of the countries recently lauded by Police Minister Bheki Cele as not permitting civilian gun ownership.

In France on Bastille Day 2016, 31-year-old Tunisian Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, denied access to a gun, simply rented a 19-ton refrigeration lorry and drove it into crowds of holidaymakers on the Nice beachfront, killing 86 people and injuring 458 others.

Disarming lawfully armed civilians in a society like South Africa will afford criminals a force-monopoly within which to ply their trade of robbery, rape and murder.

Most certainly a gun makes it easier for an attacker, but the converse is true for the defender, and it is well established that criminals prefer unarmed victims. The fact that possession of a firearm makes it more convenient for a criminal to do his job doesn’t establish a good reason to disempower his victims by disarming them. It is irrational to conclude that disarming law-abiding citizens will lead to the disarming of criminals — especially in South Africa with the abundance of stolen military and state small arms in circulation in our region.

Cele, releasing crime statistics to Parliament in 2018, had to admit that police had “dropped the ball” and that South Africans were living in a war zone in a country that wasn’t at war. Since then murder and violent crime have increased. The murder of a woman by an armed male spouse is a tragedy, and so is the raping and murder of innocent people who are strangers to their attackers. Attacks by criminals on strangers greatly outnumber instances of intimate partner femicide.

Finally, it should be borne in mind that a spouse with murderous intent may find an alternate means to kill his wife. 

Kloos neatly frames the conclusion of this opinion: “When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation… and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilised act.” DM

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All Comments 79

  • This subject is most controversial, and as always there will be “those for” and “those against”. But this defensive “against gun control” article is extremely under-researched, as it applies to South Africa. But what immediately concerns me is what appears to be the full time job of Mr. Deal, an SAPS-licensed arms instructor. His livelihood is thus dependent on policemen carry guns, whom all carry guns, properly trained or not. Policemen are trained to use a gun, but not really trained on when “not” to use a gun. As long as policemen carry guns, there will be increased manufacture of such, as well as the subsequent trade of illegal firearms, with the very same police the distributors. The gang related crimes in many areas of the country, especially the Western Cape, is simply due to the relatively easy access to firearms. There are more cases of un-responsible usage of firearms than the opposite. Mr. Deal makes stupid references to countries like Japan, and the U.K. but do not mention the USA, where anyone can simply walk into a store, buy a gun of choice, including assault rifles, and starts shooting willy-dilly, with dire consequences. A country such as South Korea, where even the police do not carry guns, the number of deaths by a gun are minimal. No guns, nobody to use it!
    Mr Deal failed to provide any information on the number of cases where a gun was SUCCESSFULLY used as a means of self-defence, as opposed to being used to intentionally harm someone else.

    • Perhaps the point here is that law-abiding citizens should be the last group to be disarmed (if at all), not the first. When the SAPS has removed all illegal guns from the country and has their own house in order, then disarming citizens can be considered, or rather an effective form of gun control.

      • Don’t want to argue against you. but as long as anyone is allowed to own a gun, there will be many more that will own an illegal gun (or many). To imply that our police must and can, remove illegal guns, is a dream, a wish, but won’t happen. I for one will never own a gun, because of the immense fear that it will end up in someone else’s hands, with criminal intend. How many people of good standing has the guts to use a gun, even in self-defence. And criminals know that. To shoot somebody else, regardless of the reason, takes immense will, even courage. With the best will in the world, I for one won’t be able to use a gun by pointing it at someone else. And therefor, should I have one, it will be a weapon against myself.

        • It most definitely applies to South Africa as that is the context of this article. Moreover, we cannot refer to SA as a country where firearms are virtually banned as with Japan and the Uk and that is why knife crimes (the next best option for a criminal) are used as examples. Finally, there are tens of thousands of successful take-offs and landings at airports every day – but an airliner crash garners international media attention – so just because the media doesn’t report successful self-defense incidents with a gun doesn’t mean that you can simply say that they are in the minority when compared to irresponsible gun use.

          • Your heading says: “Carrying a gun is a civilised act”. You comment above is just bull, you once again provide no statistics, so any claims you make is pure speculation. Only 17% of murders in this country are never solved, most by guns (as per Cele recently in Parliament). This is so typical of Trump’s RP supporters before the last US elections, including attacking the Capitol fully armed. To me, which is my opinion, you just a typical gun loving idiot, like those hunters hanging heads of precious animals, many protected, in their living rooms, claiming it was for “culling”.
            You comment to Colleen below refers. You ask a question: “Are you aware of how many people in SA own guns lawfully?” Yet you fail to answer that question yourself. So please enlighten us. And then, if you can, break it down by both demographic, in particular race) and socio-economic groupings. I agree with Colleen’s comment, and I am a White male, 70 years old

    • I did training under Mr Deal a few years ago and the training was professional, ethical and responsible. From visiting his farm I doubt that his livelihood is dependent on this income. My reason for needing the training was that we had a local incident where the SAPS was unable to deliver on their responsibility to the community, to protect us as civilians (A knife was used in this specific incident).
      Prior to this incident I was anti-gun myself and in naivety I even shared some of the views from Mr Gous. The incident was a tipping-point in my own perspective to carry or not. In a perfect world, where everyone shares the privileges, viewpoints and perspective of Mr Gous, yes – by all means, stay in your access-controlled, walled-off properties and continue believing that the SAPS will come running to save you when your day comes up.
      “Relatively easy access to firearms” for criminals – provided by the SAPS themselves? The root cause here is ineffective policing, corruption at the SAPS and budgetary issues – not the responsible public. Treat the infection, don’t remove the responsible use of antibiotics.

      • One more comment, You cannot compare South Korea with South Africa. I have been consulting for a SK company for the last few years, have visited them many times. The main difference in comparison with SA is that they have an incredibly strong hierarchical approach within their society. I watched a class of 6-year old’s in the park one afternoon and remember how surreal it looked (compared to my own kids). They were walking in lines, calm, respectful and quiet… My point here is that in SA we have societal issues, disrespect for the law, an ineffective policing system, extreme poverty, etc. In South Korea they are incredibly respectful of their seniors and even though they disagree they will not make this vocal, they are not a violent society. They don’t have guns because they don’t need them!

        • As I said in my very first sentence in my very first comment to this article: “The article is most controversial, and there will be those for and those against”. However, two things I am certain of are as follows:
          1. Owning a gun, and using it, even in self-defence, is and will be most difficult for anyone whom has never killed before, because it is not a natural thing like throwing a fist, or shouting a curse/insult. Armed with a gun, many will falter in the use thereof, panic, or shoot before he/she asked: “Who’s there?” No training can teach you to kill (or not to kill) a stranger, as many a well-trained military soldier discovered. But then there are natural killers, but I am not one of them
          2. Each person is different, but many like me, will forever have nightmares if I kill another human being, even it was in self-defence. And no, I do not live in an access-controlled property, or have any believe in the ability of the police to defend me if and when is is required

          • Better, I guess to have elicited some reaction than none at all. The common theme of some of these replies takes me back to my campaign against shale gas mining. At the time, there was a nucleus of commentators who appeared to me to be less concerned with the facts of the matter and more concerned with how erudite they appeared in their comments. I’m wondering how many of the commentators today have stopped for a second to consider that at present they are free to choose to apply for a licence to possess a firearm. And if there is any set of circumstances – at all – in which they could imagine turning to the use of a gun or any other weapon for that matter. I sincerely hope that the requirement to defend themselves or a loved one, or a stranger against a life-threatening attack never becomes a reality for them.

    • Mr. Gouws it appears that you have different standards for the same argument. By labelling me a gun-loving idiot and drawing broad assumptions on my political views you demonstrate quite neatly that your argument has run out of steam.

      • If you wish to read my comments, and then reply to it, please at least use my real name. Since you are happy trying to proof me wrong, you have failed, and trying everything to manipulate my comments as posted, Mr DEAL. Regardless of your arguments about the use of guns for so-called self protection, you have failed to explained the licencing of rifles, as opposed to pistols or revolvers.
        Never have I ever read an article by someone in DM where the author is so intend to proof his point that he goes to extreme to defend it, rather than for readers to decide for themselves. Commenting on virtually anoone that disagree with his viewpoint. I have asked some questions for some actual statistics, rather than thumb-sucking, but you have not provided a single one. This appeared to me highly inconsistent with your article. This article would have been much more appropriate in the Sunday Times or Independent Newspapers. Even News24 will do.

        • Mr. DEAL, I am prepared to challenge you in a public debate. But let me ask your answers to the following questions, which you should be able to provide as a member of the police force:
          1. How many citizens have legal gun licences in South Africa. And the , adding on to that:
          2. How many have more than one licence
          3. How many have a licence for a revolver/pistol, as well as a rifle, in particular hunting rifles
          4. If you can, please break the above questions down by race, socio-economic standing, and age,
          5. How many children were killed by a gun owned by their parents
          6. How many criminals were killed by gun owners in claimed self-defence.
          7. How many legal gun owners have been killed by criminals vs. those not having a gun licence
          8. How many guns owner by owners have been stolen by burglars
          9. How many of those stolen, has been used in another criminal act.

          • Will go fly a kite with pleasure.Hope you are safe and no harm comes to you,stay pro anti f arm ,I will stay pro f arm.Have a lovely week

        • Mr Gous, If you want that type of information please make use of the PAIA forms on the Department of Justice website and send it to the information officer of SAPS. Coincidentally, a well known gun rights organisation tried for years to get SAPS to provide it. Safe Citizen has that and much more under a current PAIA to SAPS/CFR and we will be following it up in terms of the Act. Regarding a public debate, please do let me know what your plans are in this regard, and send me a CV that details your experience in this field – my time is limited. If you would prefer to speak with me on the phone please Whatsapp me on 076 838 51550 – as a representative of Safe Citizen I am available to speak with the public.

    • @Coen -this is an interesting discussion and after giving it some thought I find I’m struggling to understand the position you – and those who seem aligned with your viewpoint – are so vehemently, and if I may say, quite rudely in some cases, pushing. I personally don’t carry a gun as the responsibility of owning one is too much for me; I would be worried having an accident; and that I understand that more people are killed by their own guns than successfully defend themselves etc. etc. This decision is my choice, and it sounds like it is yours also. Does it concern me that another law abiding citizen feels differently and considers a gun a vital component of their security? Not at all – as I am not at risk from that person to any measurable degree. I am however very much at risk from the criminal carrying a gun – who, given the multiple ways they are able to obtain weapons illegally in South Africa, would likely hardly be affected by this law anyway. Against this backdrop, I am genuinely interested in understanding why you are so intent on preventing a law abiding citizen – living in an extremely dangerous country – knowing all the risks – and having the proper training – from being permitted self determination regarding carrying a firearm for self defense. While my personal preference is not to carry a firearm, is there something so wrong with respecting that honest law abiding people having different circumstances and life experiences may feel differently?

      • I should also mention that in my ideal world guns would not be necessary for anyone, but that I consider this about as likely as julius doing the right thing for South Africa’s people and acknowledging honestly that collaboration beats racism every time – for everyone.

  • If you know that there is a speed trap ahead you automatically drive cautiously. Criminals see self defense as a deterrent. In an environment of failed policing, we deserve self protection! Ordinary citizens will be criminalized by owning illegal firearms.

  • I cannot agree with this opinion for so many reasons.
    The sooner old white men leave the stage with their old white opinions and ignorance the better.
    It is time for a re-think on just about everything and that includes guns.

    • Is it necessary to bring race into this debate? Are you aware of how many people in SA (other than ‘old white men’) own guns lawfully? And why is it necessary to be insulting about my age? Is that relevant?

    • Instead of racial prejudice, do you maybe have proper arguments? Are you sure those arguments can simply be applied so broadly. Terrible comment…

    • I’m intrigued as to the elements of this ‘re-think’ that you propose. Is this something that you plan to introduce to South African society? Or is someone else going to do it? Will there be a place for ‘old white men’, or are we unwelcome in your new reality?

      • I fear that we really are. Doesn’t matter who you are, what you have done or what you are going to do, we are always guilty. Critical Race Theory at its worst.

  • Only 17% of murders in South Africa are ever solved, not “never” as per my unfortunate mistake beow in my comment to your own comment.

  • At long last someone with the insight and courage to remind us that the world is real; and it’s dark. If you and I don’t ‘get it’ then look at the contents of our deep freeze or medicine chest and calculate the suffering.

  • The excuse the SAPS have made is that there are too many unlicensed firearms in circulation, most of them they say are stolen from licensed gun owners. Therefore by restricting guns ownership for self defense by law abiding citizens it will solve their problem with illegal guns in circulation. How absolutely pathetic! The SAPS should be concentrating on removing all illegal guns and the law should be so severe that anyone with an illegal gun would think twice before even getting one.

  • I’m sure it is not Jonathan Deal’s intention but I read this article as one of the most cogent arguments against private gun ownership. It provides a base for the view that the ones with guns are the bad guys or criminals and the ones without guns are the good guys. So if private gun ownership was banned it would become easy to identify the criminals. Quod Est Demonstrandum. The sight of a gun in anyone’s possession leaves me uncertain about my safety and that of anyone in the vicinity.

    • “So if private gun ownership was banned it would become easy to identify the criminals. Quod Est Demonstrandum.”

      Like criminals openly show their weapons…

    • Does that include the police, the SANDF and armed private security moving cash. I’ll have to go and look up the Latin. As I answered on another thread in this conversation, my sincere wish for you is that you will never find yourself in situation where the physical odds overrun your (unarmed) ability to protect your own life or those of a child, or even a stranger who may need your help. may the police always be close by and competent or may you simply never be at the wrong place at the right time.

  • I would never own a firearm or have one in my home, but banning something (firearms, alcohol, other drugs . ..) because it has some harmful uses is a foolish way to go. Better to devise and implement effective forms of lawful regulation.

    • John, your two comments, short as it is, are possibly the best of the lot, including the author of the article and my own comments. Like you, I will never own a gun (a real gun, because I do have an imitation air gun). However, the key is in your last sentence, and that is where the real problem lies: “To devise and implement effective forms of lawful regulation”. Can it be done in a country such as ours? Probably not.

        • John, it is an air pistol, but looks very real, and even makes a sound like a real gun. I also have 3 Labradors. They are not dangerous, but sound dangerous.
          John, I have no doubt that you are a responsible user of guns, but not everyone is. Stricter gun control is also not necessary for abuse of self-protection/defence, I also have a large problem with licenses issued for rifles, in particular hunting rifles. In the area where I farmed, hundreds of baboons/dassies etc and even the Cape Leopard are been killed for sport. Many Game farms operate purely to attract wild game hunters, for the sport, not for culling. They breed game so they can be killed for sport, fun, trophies, whatever.
          This article of you very controversial, and will remain so. What scares me though, is that it will encourage more people to acquire such. And they might not be as responsible as you are.
          One cannot compare the ownership of guns to say control of alcohol, dagga, or other substances. Like you no-doubt teach policemen, responsible use is abused, even by the police in many cases

  • Humans are taught to drive a car,they get qualified and drive.Then accidents happen,via speeding, drunken driving, negligent driving, tires bursting etc.People get taught how to use a gun,accidents happen,they overreact,panic,committ suicide etc.Corruption in the police is big, but there are still hardworking honest policemen and women.They carry guns because criminals are lots of times ruthless and will kill unarmed people without thinking twice.Article 49(2)states you can use your fire arm if your life or that of anyone else is in immediate life threatening situations and only then.If the life threatening situation has passed you are not allowed to shoot any one.I served 29 years in the saps ,I have been in numerous shootouts,I never shot first, but only afterwards in self defence.I have been shot by Pagad in 1996.I shot a guy in the stomach in Warrenton who assaulted me and tried to take hold of my fire arm,I was charged with attempted murder.The case ran for 5cyears.I won my case and as the magistrate said at the end.”In all honesty sir, the state didn’t have a prima face case against you.I have no qualms in defending my life against an attempted lethal and fatal attack.I agree 100 % with the writer of this article ,every one has the right to defend him or herself,treat the short comings in the system, not the right to self protection.Unless you can convince the whole world to becoming pacifists, nothing is gonna change.How would you defend against murderous criminals?

    • jcdville, I read your response with interest, and fully understand your view. And I agree with most of what you said. You might have noticed my numerous “for gun control” comments. There is one difference here. You are an experienced police officer, and experience with firearms, and still, you went through a 5 year ordeal. Now let me tell you a story. A very good friend of mine was killed with his own gun by attempted hi-jackers. He was well trained in arms usage, and in fact was a keen hobbiest, although not a hunter, being an animal activist. He was killed in front of his driveway. As the gate started to open, one of the assailants knock on his drivers window, and demanded he get out of the car. He decided not to, reached for his gun in the cubby hole, and in his panic he lost control. Another assailant entered the car through the passenger door, and somehow the two assailants managed to take his gun from him, and shot him. They fled with the gun, but not the vehicle, never to be found. He was killed in cold blood, despite his experience with firearms. If he did not try to grab his gun, he might still be alive. I have two other example in my own life with similar examples, both of which ended in court. What I do know for certain, is that if I had a gun, I would not be alive today. In both cases I was unexpectedly confronted in my house. The first thing they looked for was a gun. Maybe you are right and I am wrong, but maintain my view that the decision can result in tragedy. Can you imagine what will happen if someone living in the Cape flats try to defend himself against an armed gang. No more people are hurt with their own guns than those that successfully defended themselves. If SA is like the US where firearms are freely available, I will be terrified. So regardless of what you say, the current act is anything but safe.

      • Coen there are actually a lot of private indivuals who have a private gun staying on the cape flats,who have defended themselves successfully.Albeit some of them had to relocate.The problem is not the fire arm,it is the person behind it.Fire arm training is mostly the problem.Good logic is also needed,when to confront ,when to flee,when to be passive, when to fight back.We don’t go taking peoples cars away because of the high death rate on our roads.Neither should we take away citizens rights to protect themselves,with fire arms.It is rather the case of addressing a malfunctioning state and it not doing its 1st duty to protect all citizens.Keeping crime under control.Peoplecthat don’t want to carry a gun must accept the consequences, just like a person with a legal fire arm must accept the consequences.This pie in the sky lot at gun free sa live in theoretical scenarios and are far removed from reality,but sometimes they hire armed guards which in itself is a paradox.Look at south africa today ,crime is rampant,illegal guns will still be acquired via Mozambique, ,harbors, via planes etc.Gun smuggling will fill the vacuum that is left by a gun free sa.

        • At long last we have found each other, as you speak the truth and more. The key, and one of the reason I am “for” stricter control, is your 3rd sentence: “The problem is not the firearm, but the person behind it. My second reason is the issue pertaining to the issuing of licenses for hunting rifles. See another comment of mine on this equally disturbing fact to Jonathan Deal

    • The police s use of statistics is an insult to themselves,especially the top hierarchy,if you only solve 17 %of murders you got a moersevproblem.The police in my last years caught lots of people with knifes under the act(Possession of a dangerous weapon)All because of statistics. 95 %of the cases are thrown out of court.The accused says it is for self defence.The court takes into consideration where the person stays,what the rate of crime is.In the definition of dangerous weapon, it must be taken into consideration if the person had it in his hand or pocket(they even locked up people with pocket knifes!!!)Anything can be a dangerous weapon ,a brick, a stone ,a hockey stick,a bottle etc.Was the person using it to attack another person or in the act of wanting to use it on another person.Voila you got your case.Crime is the major reason people want a fire arm.If violent crime is sorted out to acceptable low levels,less people would want a fire arm.First create the situation you want,when it is entrenched(for ex.most people become law abiding the you can move to disarming people.I stand by Mr Deal and would like him in my corner if a very dangerous situation arises.

  • I haven’t touched firearms since nearly 50 years ago when I handed them in to the Citizen Force on completion of service. In all my 75 years of normal urban life, I have never needed or wanted a firearm.
    I truly believe that having a firearm in a normal urban setting poses a greater danger to the owner, and others.

    • You are very very fortunate. I cannot say the same for myself and many many people I know. Stories from simple muggings to home invasions, rape and murder etc are very very common in this country. So none of your acquaintances over the last 75 years (and especially the last 20) have ever had any violent criminal encounters? If that’s true, I really am happy for you, but please do not assume this is the norm or demonize people for having worse experiences than you luckily never had to endure.

    • Thank you Andrew for a rational and balanced comment. You make my point eloquently. Safe Citizen doesn’t hold an extreme view like Gun Free South Africa (every gun must be destroyed). We are of the view that there are most certainly persons in SA who should not ever be issued a licence to possess a firearm, hence we don’t believe ‘everyone should be armed.’ The principle that we defend is that any competent, law-abiding person should have the opportunity at law to prove his/her competence and apply for a licence to possess a firearm for any lawful purpose.

    • As is your right Mr. Bailey. Open participation is a cornerstone of democracy and if the media publish only what suits certain readers they will sacrifice their rational standard. Perhaps you would write me a letter at Safe Citizen, or arrange a debate on radio or face to face.

  • Not sure I buy either side’s argument. In a self-defence situation, pepper spray would be easier to load in a home invasion and fire with composure in the streets or at home for the average joe. For the other side, regardless of the laws criminals will use illegal guns. It’s been shown time and time again in countries with tight gun control and those without. In the USA where guns are laws are relaxed, criminals still use illegals guns, some even buy them from the police! Outright banning guns is not effective at managing them, they need active regulation and oversight as well. Would rather the licensing be more strict, require more hands-on training than outright bans.

  • Wow! This article loses the plot on so many scores. If carrying a gun is a civilised act, then those countries with the highest gun ownership per capita are presumably the most civilised? So USA is probably the most civilised country on earth, closely followed by South Africa, with Japan, Canada and Sweden left far, far behind. And does that mean dropping atomic bombs on Japan was one of the most civilised acts of recent history? If carrying guns is a civilised act, isn working for peace and harmony in society an uncivilised act? Funny, I always associated improving health care, better education, more leisure time, reducing poverty and the like with a more civilised society, not higher gun ownership.
    Just two comments. 1. Guns are designed and intended as weapons to kill or maim. That is not a civilised aim. 2. Something this article fails to recognise is that criminal violence escalates exactly because so many people carry guns.

    • Switzerland is the most developed country.Read up on there gun laws,and also how many or how little accidents or murder there are with f arms.In utopia everything works like it should.We are not in utopia, we are on earth ,inhabited by humans.Correct, guns are for killing if you have no other choice,and that is their purpose.If humans don’t have guns except the criminal humans who don’t give a hoot about legality,why do you want to take away the victims right by giving the criminally inclined more leverage.You cannot preach morals to someone who isn’t interested, but interested in robbing ,murdering ,raping,im pro fire arm and if you don’t want a fire arm don’t get one.

    • Mr. Krige is it at all possible that there is a disconnect between choosing to be lawfully armed in South Africa in 2021 and dropping nuclear bombs in WW2?

  • Just google ‘annual gun deaths in America’ to see where this argument gets you.

    See how many are killed by police there, because they think potential suspects are armed. ( Or they just like shooting other people?)

    • This is South Africa forget about America.Do you feel safe walking around here.Maybe you got a GPS that tells you where to be when an armed robbery takes place.Maybe as long as it doesn’t happen to you you don’t care what happens to other people.Having a theoretical about fire arms solves nothing.Either you are for private gun ownership or you are not.I am for it, finish and klaar.Do you have a security firm that protects your property, have they got f arms?Why don’t we ban golf courses, they take up space for housing developments bla bla bla, boring.Go fly a kite

      • A policeman speaking, although EX. I think your comment to Trevor Jones is sick to the extreme, because that kind of comment is so a-typical of the police force. You, like your buddy whom train people to use weapons, have failed citizens of this country. YOU have failed us, you and the rest of the police force, like the author of this article. You spend 5 years in court arguing your case of non-murder. And like any country, courts tend to favour the version of police officers. Now the police, like you and your bud, that should defend citizens of this country, are encouraging people to buy arms themselves. Your comment above is enough to make me puke. Take your friend, and go to a game farm, and kill several game with your array of weapons, as you obviously know how to kill, which I don’t.

        • I do not hunt never do, I don’t kill animals., The problem with these discussions is they run in a circle.My whole police career was exemplary, my commendations speak from themselves. .Generalizing the whole police force as failures is notgood reasoning.What makes me wanna puke is people who think the world will be a better place when law abiding citizens don’t have firearms, but only criminals.

          • Your argument is so pathetic. Like it now turns out all your previous comments. Maybe you are/were one of the good guys, I would not know. But your insulting comment to Mr. Jones is shocking. If you were so wonderful as a policeman, how come you make comments such as this? To me you have become in a matter of one day became a failed police officer. Just as the commissioner of police, today, is a failed police officer. You rightly say there are some good ones. And I agree. But the ones that rule the show get rid of the real good ones, including killing them. I really do not care how good you are/were, but by posting comments like you did, illustrate to me not just your failures, but the inability to see the dangers in carrying any kind of firearm by average citizens. Why, because it is like your third arm, the gun on your side. You lived with it your entire life, and therefor think, like Mr. Deal do, everyone else should do. Now you go and fly a kite

        • Mr Gous, your vitriole in this latest reply establishes for me that spending any further time engaging you will simply be a waste of time. You are clearly unable to conduct a rational debate without being personal, and that Sir, is one of the issues that contributes to a fractured community in South Africa. Please ignore my invitation earlier to future dialogue.

  • Of course, owning a firearm and using it effectively are two entirely different matters.
    In a recent home invasion, eight armed criminals were involved. How do the civilised people plan to counter those odds of one gun to eight? When criminals target you, the odds are already against you. It’s a false sense of security to be armed. Do the numbers.
    Secondly, armed criminals knowing or suspecting the victim to be civilised will more likely be even more aggressive and come in greater numbers.
    Thirdly, criminals who take the trouble and risk to enter a property looking for firearms will be more aggressive towards the er.. non-civilised home owner, thinking they are hiding the guns.

    Reality check:
    Few civilised people are like John Wayne who can take down 20 likewise civilised men without reloading.
    Having a firearm makes one a target.

    Having said this, surely everyone is entitled to the choice, which is yet again, a separate issue to competency of use and wisdom in owning a firearm. I’d like to live in a society where I didn’t have to worry about whether someone next to me watching rugby was civilised and how likely to shoot me for spilling my beer on his veldskoen. But then again, I’d also like to live in a society where the state didn’t regulate all my personal choices.
    This would be a much, much stronger argument than whether it is civilised to carry a firearm.

    • Thank you Mr. Morrison for a balanced and rational reply. Those are your views, developed by your own life experience and you are certainly entitled to them. Thank you for this powerful sentence that you were reasoned enough to write, despite your own views: ‘Having said this, surely everyone is entitled to the choice, which is yet again, a separate issue to competency of use and wisdom in owning a firearm.’

  • Guns don’t kill people, PEOPLE kill people. Firearms in the form of pistols for self-defence are useless unless the owner trains with it at least twice a week by dry-firing at himself/ herself in a mirror. (Keep an empty shell in the chamber otherwise the firing pin will be damaged). Who am I to make such statements? Until I moved to S.A. in 1980 I was a member of the British National Squad (rifle). I won the women’s British Championship in the ’70s and according to Lones Wigger and Bill Krilling in 1980 I ranked 8th in the world (women) with a rifle. I have shot all over the world. I am also a qualified coach (club not SAPS) and am disgusted by the police’s handling of firearms. Holding rifles horizontally and swinging around to talk to their buddies, aiming at several people in the group in the process. Using the rifle as a ‘shooting stick’ and perching his bum on the end of the barrel! That picture went viral world wide and I was contacted by many world shooters, saying I should offer my services. So, my opinion on this current debate? Untrained people should not be allowed pistols unless they are members of a registered club and are trained to at least a minimum level, not only firing them but also carrying, cleaning, storing and all the relevant rules and laws. Otherwise they may become one of the PEOPLE. By mistake. The same rules apply to rifles although they are not normally used for self-defence.

    • So, Mr SAPS qualified coach, maybe it’s time to remind your students of “Rule 1. Never point a gun at anyone unless you intend to kill him.”

      • Thanks for that Mr. Young. And formally, the first rule is ‘Always point every gun in a safe direction.’ (Where, in the event of an accidental discharge no one will be injured or killed).

          • Regret my oversight. In the course of my life I have known Lesley’s of both genders and with the same and alternate spelling. No offence intended Mrs/Ms. Young.

    • I don’t normally carry a firearm, I have a Rottweiler who goes everywhere with me. If he’s not welcome, I don’t go.

  • A handheld drill is a tool. It can be used to do good things.. build protective structures is what comes to mind. Great tool to do what is intended to do with integrity and everything else a drill can do. However, it can be used as a weapon of torture. Now shall we ban drills? You see ? We need to care for the tool and target the sociopath. As long as you choose to ban the tool, you miss the society ill.

  • The United States was ‘won’ by the gun. So was South Africa. Being armed in the US is almost natural, plus its a right under some or the other amendment (implying it wasn’t always so). They subscribe to gun culture. And many of us do as well. In a gun culture, there is an acceptance that you are ‘at war’, hence you are at a disadvantage if you are unarmed. Unfortunately. It might be weird, but its real. The difference is that the cops here are so corrupt, they are the ones actually arming the criminals. Plus they are incapable of keeping order, and are themselves habitual lawbreakers. In this situation, to ban private handguns is either insane, or there is a more nefarious agenda. I’d like to see some stats on who the majority gun owners are (even though I have a good idea) Disclosure: I am not a gun owner.

    • Good morning Carsten, thanks for your comments. Please feel free to keep in touch with me. Join Safe Citizen (www.safe.citizen.co.za) to keep up to date with future articles in this vein. Safe Citizen represents all persons concerned with community safety and security – there is no need to be a gun owner to be part of us.

  • SCORPIO

    Anatomy of a ‘rigged’ contract: Digital Vibes tender deeply flawed, unlawful and invalid, says SIU

    By Pieter-Louis Myburgh for Scorpio

    "Don't depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness." ~ Ibn Taymiyyah