Editor's noteOpinion

Another gun amnesty won’t help

No one can dispute that the number of gun crimes in South Africa is extremely high, scary and depressing.

Far too many people die violently almost daily at the hands of gun-wielding criminals who seem to have simply taken over our cities and townships, killing and maiming innocent people with impunity.

Without doubt, there is overwhelming public support for Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s expressed concern over the number of illegal firearms in the hands of criminals who wouldn’t think twice about killing their victims without blinking an eyelid.

Of course, this seemingly inherent culture of brutal violent by criminals, some of them barely in their mid-teens, is also a sad reflection of the wide divisions created by our country’s tragic past. Just think of all the wonderful things South Africa and its people of all races would be by now as a nation had the previous exclusive rulers of the land opted for an all-inclusive people’s government in 1948.

But even though most of the serious problems facing our beloved country today can be linked to decisions taken by the previous dispensation over six decades ago, the carnage facing just about every citizen of this land, regardless of his or her race, creed or colour, has become a serious problem for all of us.

However, only a fool would justify the present-day crime that engulfs us as a nation in light of our tragic past. What we all need right now are solutions to fight the crime wave before it consumes all of us.

But the minister’s offer of yet another “gun amnesty” to owners of illegal firearm and unlawful gun owners is definitely not going to solve our gun-crime problem.

The police have gone this route before, Mr Minister, and look at where we are today. The problem with gun amnesty is that it fails to deter criminals who are illegal gun owners. Gun crimes have now escalated to a point where law-abiding citizens are just too terrified to step out of their unsafe homes after dark, so why yet another “amnesty”.

Where and when will it end, Mr Minister, while lives are lost everyday?

I don’t think we need another gun amnesty, Sir. What we need Sir, is an alert and effective crime intelligence network that will trace the source of the gun-running masterminds and their foot soldiers who either sell or hire these deadly unlawful guns to criminal syndicates.

Only then, Mr Minister, when the sources and the routes of these illegal firearms that are used to kill and maim innocents people for their belonging, leaving children orphans and women widows, are eradicated and those responsible are arrested and convicted – will you see a decrease in gun crime levels in the townships and towns.

Perhaps Mr Mbalula, should also consider approaching the courts to impose harsher and heftier prison sentences to criminals who commit gun-related crimes, especially where a life or lives are lost.

Maybe it is time the authorities declare a full out war on crime, placing a special emphasis on gun-related crimes.

Also Read: Know the laws governing firearms

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