More women take up arms for self defense in SA

The multibillion-rand local gun industry has not been spared from the supply chain disruptions faced by many industries as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
Industry players say the poor service delivery at the Central Firearms Registry at the South African Police Service has added to their frustrations. This is on top of logistic challenges in shipping and delays at ports hindering imports of firearms.

South African Arms and Ammunition Dealers Association says there have been delays with firearm applications, and dealers have faced delays with import permits making it difficult to keep the industry well stocked.
This they say is as most guns in the industry are imported. The delays negatively affect sectors such as gun dealers, private security, hunting and wildlife conservation. The Arms and Ammunition Dealers Association says there are constraints in shipping mainly due to port delays exacerbated by the recent floods in Durban, and they say there is also poor service delivery at the South African police services.

Bureaucratic delays

Dealers face significant challenges again from the central firearm registry bureaucracy related to import permits. They frequently change the goal post, imposing new requirements without talking to us and letting us know and those cause all sorts of delays, excessive costs when we encounter them at the port of entry. Without a doubt, dealers and firearm owners fundamentally, are law abiding and want to adhere to all requirements. It would be so much easier for us to do so if we know what was expected in every step of the way.” says Jonathan Fouche,  Chairman of the SA Arms and Ammunition Dealers Association.

The disruptions comes as players in the industry say there has been a rise in demand for firearms.
This as the country continues to report rising crime statistics seemingly fueling demand for guns.
This gun shop in the north of Johannesburg says it recorded an increase in people interested in buying guns.
They say the increase in demand for firearms was recorded particularly following last year’s July civil unrest.
South African Police service data shows in the financial year 2020 – 2021, it received about 144 000 new firearm licence applications.

“Definitely from Covid and obviosuly the looting that happened we have seen a huge spike, a definite increase in self defence firearms and people who have come in and said they never wanted to own a gun, but it’s now time own a gun for self defence”, says Keelan Fuller of Tactical HQ.

South Africa’s crime statistics show that violent crimes continue to increase. Studies have also shown that perpetrators of such crimes usually use firearms.

Themba Khubeka works in the security industry and is a gun rights advocate. He says he promotes the safe use of firearms as people are their own first respondents when faced with a crime.

“It’s the only equaliser that I can think of. We live in a country where crime is going up and the only thing that equalises the situation is if you get a gun, cause more often than not, actually 90% of the attacks be it in homes, farm attacks and whatever, those guys are armed”,says Khalamani Protection’s Themba Kubheka.

More women seeking firearms

Firearm instructor Dylan Hadassin says he has seen an increase in the number of people requiring training, especially from women.

“I have had an increase in female clients like from diverse cultures as well. Half my cleints as well is actually female of 20 upto atleast 50. They train with me one on one. A lot of females are saying, especially with this gender based violence, you know a lot of them feel and I do agree, that a firearm is the ultimate defence mechanism. A lot of people go for like pepperspray or knife or combat training. I agree anything that can help is good, but there is definitely massive increase in firearms regarding females,” laments Hadassin.

Lobby group SA Gun Owners Association says with the rising crime levels and people unable to afford private security, many are turning to firearms.

“We often find more communities are deciding to protect themselves. They can’t rely on the police. Those that can afford have gone on to get private security, and the private security has obviously grown over the years. If you look, just the size of the police force how it has reduced over the 10 years and it’s getting smaller every year but crime obviously escalates, it’s like a contrary kind of graph. The police going down this way and crime going on this way and therefore lot of communities, lot of people in the townships who can’t afford private security are deciding they need to protect themselves.”says chairperson Damian Enslin.

According to Gun Free South Africa data, 23 people are murdered with guns in South Africa daily, there are 4 500 000 licenced guns in the country and about 9800 guns are reported lost or stolen a year.

All attempts to get comment from the South African Police Service were unsuccessful.

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