Gun Free South Africa self defence

Photo: unmatched value / Flickr

Guns ineffective for home defence – Gun Free South Africa

According to research quoted by Gun Free SA, a person is far more likely to be hurt and killed by a gun if they are using a firearm for self defence.

Gun Free South Africa self defence

Photo: unmatched value / Flickr

Research presented by social activist group Gun Free South Africa suggests a victim is at least four times more likely to be shot themselves if using a firearm in self-defence.

Rising crime has people looking at ways to defend themselves

Recently released crime statistics for South Africa quite rightly have citizens freaking out more than a little.

The Statistics South African Victims of Crime Survey showed people are afraid of being attacked inside their homes.

A third of respondents said they avoided open spaces in public as well as parks out of fear of crime.

Around 25% of people said they no longer allow their children to play outside for the same reason.

The crime stats show that, on average, 56 people are murdered every day in South Africa. Of those, 23 are shot.

“Guns are not the answer” – GFSA

Fear leads to drastic action and, in a bid to defend themselves and their families, South Africans are increasingly turning to arm themselves with guns.

However, according to Gun Free SA, this might actually have the opposite effect and increase the danger of you or a loved one being shot in an altercation.

“South African research undertaken in two Johannesburg police precincts shows you are four times more likely to be shot at if you use your gun in self-defence,” said Claire Taylor, researcher for Gun Free South Africa in a statement.

“International research from Philadelphia in the USA not only supports this finding but shows that you are 4 to 5 times more likely to be shot (not just shot at) if you have a gun in your possession when attacked, compared to someone who was not carrying a firearm at the time.”

Claire Taylor

However, this claim has been strongly refuted by fact-checking website Africa Check and even the author of the studies the claim appears to be based on believes the data was too unreliable to draw any unambiguous conclusions.

Stolen firearms becomes weapons for criminals

This isn’t even taking into account the possibility of the intruder managing to take the gun off of a homeowner, which would suddenly turn a break-in into an even more dangerous situation.

“A further risk is that guns bought for self-defence end up arming criminals. Guns are highly prized items and are targeted by criminals who cannot acquire guns legally.”

Claire Taylor

In short, the group remains adamant that firearms bought with the intention of self-defence are rarely used in such a scenario and actually increase the danger posed.

“There is a widespread belief that buying a gun for self-defence will help protect you and your family from criminals. This is a myth.”

Claire Taylor