Articles and Posts

What does Oscar Pistorius’ trial say about men and their guns?

  • April 2014
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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Psychologist Malose Langa explores two questions in this opinion piece, published in City Press, 27 March 2014: “Why do men commit so many killings with guns?” “Why is gun ownership so important to some men?” Violence is the smoking gun of SA’s machismo The ongoing Oscar Pistorius trial raises questions about the relationship between men and their guns. It is well known that most acts of violence across the world, including gun-related violence, are perpetrated by men against both men and women. This begs two questions: “Why do men commit so many killings with guns?” and “Why is gun ownership so important to some men?” Research shows there is a relationship between masculinity and gun ownership, particularly the dominant cultural stereotype that men need to be brave and prepared to use violence or force against any threat or intimidation to themselves, their families and their possessions. For example, in the popular imagination, the intruder, who is also currently in the dock at the Pistorius trial, is a dangerous young black man who threatened Pistorius and Steenkamp’s safety. The ability to

Oscar Pistorius and gun violence SA

  • March 2014
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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Gun Free South Africa has developed a two part Q and A document for the media during Oscar Pistorius’ trial. Part 1 explores what Reeva and Oscar’s story tells us about gun violence in South Africa and Part 2 looks at the specific charges Oscar is facing for contravening the Firearms Control Act. PART 1: WHAT REEVA AND OSCAR’S STORY SAYS ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN SA Part 1: Oscar Pistorius Q and A 1. What does Reeva and Oscar’s story tell us about gun violence in South Africa? 2. Is the story of Oscar and Reeva unique? 3. Who owns what guns in South Africa? 4. Who gets shot and killed in South Africa? 5. Men, women and gun violence: Guns and intimate femicide 6. Can we prevent gun violence? 7. Can the law prevent gun violence? 8. Are guns effective in self defence? PART 2: UNDERSTANDING THE GUN-RELATED CHARGES AGAINST OSCAR Part 2: Oscar Pistorius Q and A 9. Who is allowed to own a gun in SA? Gun for self defence Unfit to own a gun 10. List

Guns are 85% more lethal than other suicide means. Be responsible: Hand in your gun during Teen Suicide Prevention Week

  • February 2014
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
  • 0 Comments
16 February 2014: Guns are 85% more lethal than any other means used to commit suicide. Gun Free South Africa urges gun owners to be responsible during Teen Suicide Prevention Week (16-22 February 2014) and hand in their guns to the police for destruction. Says Gun Free South Africa’s spokesperson, Adèle Kirsten, “There are different ways to help prevent suicides, but one step is clear; reducing a suicidal person’s access to a lethal weapon helps save lives.” Media Statement: Be responsible by handing in your gun during Teen Suicide Prevention Week (15-22 Feb)

What does Reeva Steenkamp’s death tell us about gun violence in SA? Know the Law. Use the Law. Save a Life

  • February 2014
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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14 February 2014: A year ago today Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed by Oscar Pistorius. Apart from being celebrities, Reeva and Oscar’s story is not unique: A man legally buys a gun to protect himself and those he loves from a stranger intruder; instead he uses his licensed gun to kill the person he loves. In 1999, 34% of women murdered by their intimate partner were killed with a gun; in 2009 this figure dropped to 17%. At the same time, the percentage of women killed in other ways (e.g. strangled, stabbed or beaten) remained the same. The researchers at the Medical Research Council assert that the single most important intervention that contributed to halving the number of women shot and killed by their intimate partner was the implementation of the Firearms Control Act (2000).Media Statement: What does Reeva’s death tell us about gun violence?

Guns and alcohol: A deadly mix

  • January 2014
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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  The holiday season – associated with eating, drinking and being merry – ended a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, in addition to merriment, drinking is often associated with injury and death. Drunkenness is a significant contributing factor to the number of people killed on SA’s roads; official statistics show that 1,357 people lost their lives on our roads between 1 December 2013 and 7 January 2014. According to the World Health Organisation, SA has the world’s sixth most deadly roads, with a death rate of 31.9 people per 100,000. SA’s homicide rate is on par with our road death rate – at 31.9 per 100,000. Not only is alcohol a contributing factor to road deaths, it also features when people are injured or killed in fights. Put a gun in the mix and a fight becomes much more deadly. ALCOHOL AND VIOLENCE Victims and perpetrators of violence A study of selected mortuaries across South Africa in 2008 (the most recent year data is available nationally) shows that 60.5% of people killed because of violence (shooting, stabbing, strangling or beating) had

Gun access tied to greater suicide, murder risk

  • January 2014
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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According to a new analysis of previous research people who lived in homes with firearms were between two and three times more likely to die from either cause, compared to those who lived in homes without guns. “There have been a lot of conflicting reports about having a firearm in the home,” Andrew Anglemyer said. He is the study’s lead author and an epidemiologist from the University of California, San Francisco. Anglemyer and his coauthors write in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday that the U.S. has the highest prevalence of gun ownership in the world, and the majority of suicides and murders are committed with firearms. For the new review, the researchers analyzed 14 studies that looked at the risk of committing suicide among people who did and didn’t have access to guns and five studies that looked at gun access and the risk of being murdered. Four of the studies examined both suicide and murder risk. The studies were published between 1988 and 2005. All but one found people with access to firearms had heightened risks of

20, 000 of world’s gun violence survivors live in South Africa; what are their rights and needs?

  • November 2013
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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Pretoria, 6 November 2013: Almost 20,000, of the 2 million people shot worldwide each year were shot in South Africa in 2009, but lived to tell their story. What are the experiences of these survivors, what can we learn from them so as to better assist others’ recovery and how can we prevent gun-related injury and impairments in the future? These are questions survivors of gun violence and those involved in care-work, justice, recovery and rehabilitation from around the world discuss in a landmark book launched in South Africa today. Gun Violence, Disability and Recovery, published by the global NGO Surviving Gun Violence Project, was launched in South Africa at the Conference on Disability Rights in Africa (University of Pretoria, 4 – 7 November 2013) in partnership with Gun Free South Africa. The launch coincides with Disability Month from 3 November – 3 December 2013 under the United Nations theme “Break Barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all”. The book, funded by the Government of Norway, notes that between 3 to 14 people survive gun violence for every

Stop Suicide on World Mental Health Day 10 October

  • October 2013
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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The 10th October is World Mental Health Day and the theme is helping the elderly with their problems of depression and loneliness, both of which are major contributors to suicide. While efforts to prevent suicide usually focus on the why people commit suicide, the how people attempt – the means they use – plays a crucial role in whether they live or die. About 85% of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal. Guns are lethal. They’re quick. And they’re irreversible. Once the trigger is pulled, death usually follows within minutes. Putting time and distance between a suicidal person and a gun may save a life.  So, what can you do? 1.    Remove guns from the home If you have firearms at home and a household member is suicidal or at risk (e.g. an impulsive teen, a person struggling with depression or drug or alcohol problems, or someone going through difficulties like divorce or arrest), seriously consider removing the guns from the home. If you have a firearm that you want to get rid of you can either sell it

Children cannot be gun-proofed

  • October 2013
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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20 September 2013: September 16-22 is the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence; which makes Wednesday’s shooting, in which a 13-year-old accidentally shot his friend with his father’s gun and then shot himself, even more tragic.  The gun, which by law should have been stored unloaded in a safe, was left under a mattress.  In a similar incident last month, a 6-year old shot and killed her best friend with her grandfather’s gun – which was also not safely locked away. “Tragedies like these highlight that children and guns are a deadly combination, and the consequences – the resulting trauma and devastation – unquantifiable, from which no one recovers,” says Gun Free South Africa’s spokesperson Pamela Crowsley, who lost her son through negligent gun use. She urged gun owners to not rely on gun-proofing their children; gun proofing involves telling children to leave a gun alone and not touch it, if they find it.  “Gun proofing children is ineffective and dangerous; it makes children responsible for an adult gun owner who has violated the law by failing to store

Gun Free South Africa’s response to release of 2012/13 crime statistics: “Increase in violent crime not surprising”

  • September 2013
  • Posted By GunFreeSA
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19 September 2013: Gun Free South Africa is not surprised at the increase in violent crime, in particular the increase in both murder and attempted murder. Over the last two years the organisation has raised concern about the integrity of the firearms control management system, in particular the issuing of firearm licences. Furthermore, trauma surgeons across the country have noted an increase in the number of people presenting with gun shots at tertiary-level hospitals during this same period.  Are the increase in the number of firearms in circulation and the increase in both murder and attempted murder connected? The evidence shows, both in South Africa and globally, that strengthening national firearms control regimes can and does reduce the incidence and rates of firearm homicides. In the 2011/2012 annual South African Police Service (SAPS) report, the year in which SAPS posted the lowest ever reported murder figures at a rate of 30.9/100,000 (15, 695 total murders), the SAPS acknowledged that the steady decrease in murders over a ten year period was primarily due to the significant decrease in gun-related deaths. This