People opposed to guns claim that guns drive homicides, but is this a suitable explanation for the murder rate in South Africa? Is the gun an invention that fosters evil behaviour, or do humans possess a capacity for evil that predates modern firearms?
Guns have been part of society for more than a thousand years, when they first appeared as bamboo tubes that propelled a type of spear. In contemporary society, quite apart from the traditional use of guns for hunting, sport shooting and self-defence, it is a gun -- or perhaps the threat of the application of a gun -- that underpins the rule of law, lending ultimate enforceability to the decision of a court or the defence of a national border.
As attractive as the prospect of a world without any guns may be to anyone of the view that an ideal society is gun-free in every respect, it is simply unrealistic. The South African Police Service, metro police, SA National Defence Force, prisons units, anti-poaching units in national parks, border patrols and the commercial security industry rely on guns to back up their authority.
We protect our ministers, assets, celebrities and visiting dignitaries with guns, we lawfully...