The Gun Control Debate Comes to South Africa

Gun policy is largely viewed as a uniquely American subject. Stereotypically, the US is perceived as the only country where the liberalization of gun policy can even be entertained.

However, South Africa has lately discussed the issue of gun control given how salient crime has become inside of the African nation. According to World Population Review, South Africa averages 33.97 homicides per 100,000. This puts it as the 10th most murderous country on the planet. Tom Knighton of Bearing Arms noted that post-Apartheid South Africa has been particularly violent. While Apartheid-era South Africa had some obvious flaws, the South African state could at least maintain some semblance of public order.

On paper, the ability for lawful South Africans to exercise their right to self-defense would go a long way in securing their lives and property. However, South African lawmakers have different plans now that they’re proposing amendments to the current laws which would infringe on South Africans’ ability to defend themselves.

According to South African news publisher Eyewitness News, the latest proposals are causing controversy inside of the country:

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The Police Ministry has already received more than 85,000 submissions on the proposed amendments to the firearms bill.

The Firearms Control Amendment Bill 2021 replaces the previous bill that was submitted to Cabinet in February 2015.

Two weeks ago, the Civilian Secretariat for Police Service published a call for public comment on the bill.

The proposed amendments have reopened the perennial debate on firearm ownership and sparked outrage among gun owners.

The Firearms Control Amendment Bill has gun owners, opposition political parties, and civic organisations up in arms.

Amongst other things, it seeks to prohibit the issuing of licences for firearms bought for self-defence.

Some have described it as ‘madness’, ‘idiotic’ and ‘reckless’.

Police Minister Bheki Cele disagrees, saying that the amendments aren’t an attempt to disarm citizens, but rather an attempt to build a safer South Africa.

Unlike the US constitution, our founding document does not enshrine the right to own or bear arms.

Indeed, the US is unique for its protection of the right to self-defense from both governments and criminals (which can often be blurred). It’s enshrined in our Constitution and is the expression of Anglo-Saxon traditions that preceded the establishment of the American Republic.

Without that Anglo-Saxon political base, the Second Amendment would have likely never come into existence. Nonetheless, the Internet is a powerful tool that foreigners can use to learn about other countries’ histories and policies. They can perhaps find use in learning about America’s right to self-defense and make an effort to replicate it within their own jurisdiction.

Many countries have corrupt law enforcement bodies that cannot be trusted to keep citizens safe. So it’s logical that people start considering alternatives to their sub-optimal political arrangements. One way foreign countries with rampant crime problems can tackle crime is by making moves to adopt some semblance of gun rights.

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