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28 October 2004

Cry the Beloved Country

South Africans 'armed to the hilt'

South Africans own more guns than the police and army. South African civilians own more guns than the police and military combined, according to a study by Gun Free South Africa and Cape Town University. Some 8.4% of the population own a gun, which amounts to 3.7 million firearms, the researchers found. In the region, on average 2.27% of the population own guns, while Mozambique has a rate of 0.04%, the study says. South Africa has one of the world's highest incidences of gun-related crime which has led to new fire arm laws.

Apartheid legacy

According to the legislation, which came into effect in July, gun owners now have to reapply for their licences, undergo stringent checks and sit an exam. South Africa's high rate is a result of the legacy of apartheid where members of the white community were encouraged to own a firearm. The act also raised the legal age for owning a firearm from 16 to 21.

"South Africa's high rate is a result of the legacy of apartheid where members of the white community were encouraged to own a firearm," report author, Guy Lamb, from Cape Town University's Centre for Conflict Resolution, told BBC News Online. He said South Africans widely regard their environment as dangerous and so are looking for ways to protect themselves. Additionally, members of the security forces were previously allowed to keep their firearms when they left the force. He said that gun shops reported that black South Africans now accounted for most of their customers. There are some 500 gun shops in the country.

(news.bbc.co.uk)

That's why I left, had guns pointed at me, once too often. Sad though, South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Pity that humans live there, otherwise it would have been perfect...

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