Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

17 March 2014

South Africa: Analysis - Where's Our Debate On Gun Control?

analysis

For over a year, we've been told by the media that the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius has "sparked a renewed debate about gun ownership in South Africa". There's actually very little sign of this happening in much meaningful way. We might as well get on with it, writes REBECCA DAVIS.

"Guns, ammo and shooting are as much a part of everyday life [in Pretoria] as a trip to the dentist," an Australian journalist recently reported. It's a narrative we've been hearing a lot of from our international colleagues lately. South Africa, the gun-mad land of fear, where citizens hole up with firearms to defend themselves against any threat.

It's true for some. It's clearly true for the Pistorius family, with Beeld reporting last year that Oscar's father, three uncles and grandfathers own 55 firearms between them. It also seems to be true for Pistorius's immediate social circle, if the likes of Darren Fresco and Justin Divaris are taken to be representative.

But it's certainly not true for all. It's not even true for anywhere close to the majority of South Africans. It's difficult to know how many firearms are in circulation in this country because of the...

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