Myths

Module 1: Gun Control in SA

 

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Fact: People with guns can kill more people more quickly. Evidence shows that limiting access to guns can prevent murders, suicides and injuries. The data also show that countries with restrictive gun laws and lower gun ownership levels tend to have lower levels of gun violence.

Crime is committed with illegal guns and not legal guns.

Fact: Most illegal guns were once legal guns. When legal guns are either stolen or lost, they end up as illegal guns. However, many legal guns are also used to commit crime, especially in the home, and between partners or ex-partners.

Criminals don’t follow the law, so why have any gun laws?

Fact: Not true! Since stricter gun laws were introduced in 2000, gun deaths have almost halved — from 34 a day to 18 a day — and gun-related crime fell by more than 21%.

The weapon used to commit a crime has no relevance to the levels and impact of the crime.

Fact: Firearms are most often the weapon of choice of criminals: they are small, light, easy to use and conceal; and they are more lethal than any other weapon. One in three people who are shot will die, while one in 55 people who are stabbed will die.

Module 2: The Role of Policy

 

Ordinary citizens cannot influence the decisions made in Parliament.

Fact: You are empowered by the South African Constitution to make your voice heard through public participation.

Payment is required to access Parliament.

Fact: Parliament does not require a fee in order to enter the building.

You need to speak English in Parliament.

Fact: You can choose any of the 11 official languages to communicate in Parliament.

You must have an academic qualification and be educated if you want to speak to MPs.

Fact: Your background does not matter when it comes to participating and contributing to Parliament. 

Module 3: Men and Guns

 

Guns are effective for self-defence.

Fact: While a gun may make you feel safer, it doesn't make you safer. A gun is hardly ever used in self-defence, instead it increases the risk to you and your family and helps arm criminals.

Men will always turn to verbal aggression or physical violence in order to protect their loved ones.

Fact: Physical violence is a choice, regardless of gender. Not all men deal with conflict through verbal and physical aggression.

Men should protect women.

Fact: This kind of thinking reinforces the stereotype that women are weak and need physical projection from men who are considered stronger.

Vulnerability in men shows weakness.

Fact: Vulnerability often requires courage. Societies must create space for young boys and men to be vulnerable and see strength in gentleness. There are many ways to be a man that are not violent.

Module 4: Youth and Guns

 

Children don’t know where their parents hide the keys to the safe in which guns are stored.

Fact: While most parents think their children don't know where the safe keys are stored, often children know how to access the safe.

Children know the difference between real guns and toy guns.

Fact: Few children younger than 8 years can tell the difference between a real gun and a toy gun.

If you have a gun in the home you must teach your children to never, ever touch the gun, even if it's not locked away.

Fact: Telling children to never touch a gun is called gun-proofing. Experiments with children who have been gun-proofed show that this doesn't work: children who have supposedly been gun-proofed will play with a gun they have been told not to touch. Gun-proofing children also makes them responsible when the gun owner has been irresponsible with his gun.

A child is not capable of firing a gun.

Fact: Many parents think their children are not capable of firing a gun, but children as young as three years old are strong enough to pull the trigger on most guns.

Gangs are a police problem.

Fact: Gangs are everyone’s problem. Communities, government, police, educators and even families and friends of gang members need to commit and work together to end gang crime.

You will be able to protect your family from a gang.

Fact: Other gangsters don’t care where you are or who you are with when they decide to target you. It could be in broad daylight while you are with your family or at your home.

Module 5: Women and Guns

 

The biggest risk for a woman is stranger danger.

Fact: A national study found that more women (57%) were murdered by their husbands and boyfriends than by strangers.

You cannot tell when a woman is in danger of being killed by her partner or former partner.

Fact: If there are signs of an abusive relationship and especially if there is a gun in the house, a woman is in danger of being killed.

A legal gun in the home protects women, it is illegal guns that are used in domestic violence.

Fact: Research has shown that legal gun ownership significantly increases the risk of intimate femicide-suicide, with two-thirds (66%) of intimate femicide-suicide perpetrators in 1999 owning a legal gun.

If you safely store your legal gun at home, then there is no risk.

Fact: No matter how guns are stored, what type or how many you own, having a gun in your home significantly increases the risk of death for you, your spouse and your children.

Module 6: Gun Free Zones

 

Gun Free Zones can only be established by the Minister of Police.

Fact: Any community organisation, business, place of worship, community centre, or sports club can declare their space a Gun Free Zone.

It is enough to just put up signs to make a place a Gun Free Zone.

Fact: Experience, backed by research, shows that the success of declaring a space a Gun Free Zone depends on the buy-in and commitment of the people that use that space. The more people who support the idea of a safe environment without guns, the better.

I have to provide a safe for gun owners in Gun Free Zones.

Fact: There is NO legal obligation to provide a safe for gun owners to store their guns.

Shooters target Gun Free Zones.

Fact: There is no evidence that these zones are targeted by shooters, particularly mass shooters. Mass shootings are directed at a specific person, group or institution with whom the perpetrator has a grievance.

Our Donors

This publication was made possible with the support of the DG Murray Trust and the Raith Foundation.

 

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Email: info@gfsa.org.za

Address: Gun Free South Africa,
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