Guns are most likely one of the most controversial subjects in any home.
Whilst they serve their purpose to protect you should you be faced with a life or death situation there are also numerous accounts of toddlers and young children accidentally getting hold of parents gun and shooting themselves or a friend.
As a young girl I remember living on a big wide open farm and being taught to shoot a pellet gun rifle. The hard butt of the gun against my shoulder, I pulled the trigger and instantly reeled back with the effect. The noise ringing in my ears.
It scared me. I don’t remember trying again although I do remember my father teaching us the safety around both handling the gun and storing it.
I also recall watching him as he pulled each piece of the gun out and explained how to clean it and how it worked.
Many years later I also stood in a lounge where my father wielded a hand gun in a vicious attack against my mother.
That day I vowed I would never own a gun.
As a young mom, because of my own trauma with guns, I hardly allowed my four sons to play with guns. The images of the hurt they can inflict far too vivid in my mind.
But, boys have a natural way of gravitating to all things action and it wasn’t long before they were using sticks as guns and building their own Lego rifles.
I finally gave in and took them shopping, careful to only choose bright coloured toy guns that did not resemble a real gun at all, other than shape.
By the time they were teens they were buying their own B.B guns and my many hours of gun safety talks began.
Am I against guns?
I’m not against guns, they are needed by many for protection but I do believe :
- They need to be stored in a safe away from children
- A child should never handle a gun
- You need a licence and this licence should take your mental state into account and be evaluated every year.
- If you have children in a home where there is a gun, regular conversations about gun safety should be taken into consideration.
- If your teenager wants to learn to shoot, it should be at a shooting range amidst professionals.
- You should be a member of the Gun owners Association.
What are the reasons people own guns?
In South Africa, self protection is one of the largest reasons for people to own a gun.
From hijackings, muggings, home invasions and farm murders … there is need for personal safety.
According to the Small Arms survey there are approximately *5 350 000 guns in personal possession in South Africa. (* 2020)
Of this number, only *3 000 000 were legally registered.
What are the laws when owning a gun?
We, in South Africa need to follow strict rules before applying for a gun licence, unlike in some countries.
Here you will need to :
- Be trained at an accredited training provider
- Obtain a competency certificate
- Apply for fire arm licence from the South African Police Force ( SAPS)
You also need to meet the following requirements :
- Be a South African citizen or permanent resident of South Arfrica
- Be 21 years or older
- Be mentally stable and fit
- Pass a background check
- Not have a criminal record
- Not be an addict to either alcohol or drugs
A fire arm licence is valid for 5 years and needs to be renewed 90 days before the previous one expires.
A hunting fire arm licence is valid for 10 years.
How many guns can I own ?
The law is incredibly strict on how many guns you may own.
For personal safety – 1
For hunting/ shooting sports – a maximum of 4 but limits on only 1 handgun, rifle or shot gun. If however you are a member of a reputable hunting or sporting organisation and can prove your membership and can prove your need for more guns you may have more.
Business- For security companies and those who use guns in their business like a shooting range, there is no limit.
What do I need if I own a gun for personal safety?
The number one requirement for owning a gun would be a safe space to keep them. A wall safe with combination lock away from children.
A gun case for transporting your gun. This too needs to be secure and would be wisest with a combination lock.
A gun cleaning kit to keep the gun free of dust and from rusting.
A gun holster, should you wear the gun on your body, like the quality gun holsters from We The People Holsters
A gun can be a tool for survival but South Africa has many laws that even should a person break into your home you may not just shoot them.
It is wise to familiarize yourself fully with the law before deciding to buy a gun.
It is also wise to have open conversations with your children about gun safety.
These resources can help:
Molly’s mischief– a gun safety message from McGruff the Crime dog ( age 3 -9)
Not cool kyle– a gun saftey message from McGruff the crime safety dog. ( age 3-12)
Eddie Eagle gun safe activity book ( preschool to grade 4)