The Right of Self-Defence

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South Africa is suffering from a terrible crime wave. Approximately 25 000 people are murdered and 50 000 are raped every year in our country. Each year police record over 330 000 cases of housebreaking, over 110 000 robberies and over 100 000 vehicles stolen. The horrific reality is that each single number represents untold hardships, heartache, suffering and grief for individuals and families.

Christian Action Network has campaigned for years - through articles, letters, meetings, seminars, radio programmes and deputations to government officials - for a comprehensive response to the lawlessness and violence in our country. The legalisation of vices such as pornography, prostitution and gambling have certainly aggravated the crime wave. The abolition of the death penalty for murder has removed the main deterrent for violent crime. The proliferation of ever more violent films and videos - even on national TV - is encouraging a culture of violence. The expanding drug culture has further fuelled the flames of crime. The amnesties and early releases of over 100 000 criminals (including murderers and rapists) unleashed a tidal wave of crime and violence upon the long suffering citizens of South Africa.

The desecration of the Lord's Day, the abolition of prayer in Parliament and the deliberate removal of "In humble submission to Almighty God ..."from the Preamble to the Constitution have not helped either! The promotion of evolutionism, situation ethics, homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, the New Age movement, inter-faith and occultism have further eroded the Christian foundation of our society, aggravating the crime wave.

Obviously, other economic, social and legislative factors have also contributed to the explosion of lawlessness: the"no education before liberation" campaign of school boyotts, arson and vandalism; the non-payment of rates and taxes; the strategy of forcing disinvestment and economic sanctions; the hit squads, necklacings, riots and bombings. All of these and other acts of terrorism, sabotage or repression - by both opposition and government - have played a role in producing the high levels of unemployment, inflation, economic problems, social instability and the violent situation now prevailing.

"Gun Free" is No Guarantee

Yet in this complex and very dangerous situation, a well-funded, and well-publicised, organisation called Gun Free South Africa continues to campaign for the handing in of all privately owned firearms. In times of violence, crime and instability it makes sense to obtain firearms and training in the safe use of a firearm, for personal and family defence. But spokesmen for Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) claim that those who do so are "paranoid," "social deviants" and a "menace"! There are officially over 2 million legal, registered firearm owners in South Africa who apparently qualify for those insults. GFSA claims that "annual renewals" of licences, a raised minimum age for owning firearms, more stringent criteria for licensing, voluntary handing in of registered weapons and ultimately complete confiscation of all registered weapons - will bring down the crime rate.

However, no less an authority than the Minister of Safety and Security has reported, in Parliament, that incidents of crimes committed by registered firearm owners are "statistically insignificant". The vast majority of murders (where firearms are used), over 98%, are committed with illegal, unregistered firearms. And the vast majority of those illegal weapons were smuggled into South Africa from neighbouring countries like Mozambique. The South African Police Service estimates that there are over 4 million illegal firearms in the country. Every year, despite the most vigorous efforts, the SAPS only succeeds in recovering/confiscating about 20 000 illegal or stolen weapons, hardly a dent in the vast pool of 4 million illegal weapons.

The GFSA campaign ignores these facts. Nor can they explain how disarming the law-abiding citizens (which by definition the registered gun owners are) will solve the problem of four million illegal firearms in the hands of criminals!

Limiting the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families does not lead to a decrease in crime. Instead "gun control" deprives potential victims of their best means of protection. Disarming the law-abiding only serves the purposes of the criminal by making his "working environment" safer - for crime. Instead of firearm control we need crime control - by instituting mandatory capital punishment for all first degree murder and rape, restitution for theft, and full recognition of the right of citizens to obtain, own, carry and use firearms for personal and family defence.

The GFSA advocates regularly claim that "a person who uses a gun in self-defence is more likely to be shot than someone who does not" (Loaded Issues, GFSA leaflet). This same leaflet asserted that criminals are more likely to attack armed victims! These incredible assertions are decisively refuted by the facts: a U.S. Department of Justice report, "A Survey of Incarcerated Felons" (1985), found that the greatest deterrent to crime is armed citizens. 60% of convicts agreed that they would never attempt to rob a victim if they thought he or she might be armed. 74% declared that their greatest fear was being shot by a victim. 57% stated that they feared armed citizens more than the police. Every year, armed citizens legally shoot 4 times more criminals than do policemen.

A South African study in 1994 by John Mann of SAGA researched 206 cases of Armed Private Defence (not including police or military personnel) reported in the Gauteng area. In summary, he calculated:

677 attackers to 246 defenders/victims (ratio of 2,75 to 1).
81% of attackers had weapons, 71% had firearms.
36% of attackers were killed or arrested by the defenders.
64% of attackers fled.
Only 8 armed defenders/victims died (confrontational survival rate of 31 to 1).
No bystanders/innocent parties were injured by actions taken by defenders.

In his conclusion, Mann noted:
— Potential victims can expect multiple attackers.
— When an intended victim has used a firearm in defence, 4 out of 10 attackers were killed or arrested, 6 out of 10 attackers have run away.
— When an armed victim resists, the chances of surviving the attack are increased by 31 times.

In the light of these facts, it is inexplicable how GFSA leaders can claim "The cases of people attacked, and robbed of their guns - and often shot with their own guns - far outnumber the occasions when somebody successfully defends themselves with a gun"!!!

An American study, "Crime Control" by Gary Kleck (published in Social Problems 1988) reported that a million times a year, US citizens use firearms to defend themselves against criminals and prevent a crime (2740 times a day). In 98% of these cases the mere brandishing of the firearm proved sufficient to deter the attacker. Only in 2% of the cases did the citizen find it necessary to kill or wound the criminal. Gary Kleck began as a gun control advocate, yet after his study became convinced that it was counter-productive. He now opposes government interference in the rights of citizens to obtain and use firearms for self-defence.

A U.S. Justice Department study (of more than 32 000 rapes or attempted rapes) found that the best protection against rape is for a woman to be armed. When a potential victim of rape was armed with a firearm or knife, only 3% of the attempted rapes succeeded (Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Rape Victimization, 1979).

On 25 July 1993, five APLA terrorists attacked the congregation at St James Church of England in Cape Town, South Africa. In about 8 seconds, the terrorists had killed 11 people and wounded or crippled 55 as they fired directly into the packed congregation and hurtled handgrenades into the middle of the church. Only the prompt action of Charl van Wyk ended the bloodshed. Drawing his .38 revolver, this church member fired back at the terrorists, wounding one. The heavily armed terrorists immediately fled. The police publicly praised Charl's prompt action, declaring that many more would have died had he not returned fire so quickly and accurately.

Do Firearms Cause Violence?

GFSA advocates often point to the shocking tragedy where Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 school children and their teacher in Dunblane, Scotland, before killing himself. However, it is not mentioned that Hamilton was a known pornography addict and paedophile (child abuser). Similarly, the vast majority of other mass-murderers have been found to be addicted to pornography and violent videos. Often drug abuse and occultism are a major factor as well. Yet instead of calling for legislation mandating the death penalty for murder and banning pornography and excessive violence in videos, the cry is all too often to ban firearms. It is illogical to blame an inanimate metal object, a tool, for the evil that people do.

The underlying argument for gun control seems to be that the availability of weapons causes crime. This has not been the Biblical position. Genesis 4 records the first murder when Cain killed Abel. God's response was not to ban rocks, knives, clubs, or whatever the murder weapon may have been, but to banish the murderer. It is the murderers' heart that is the problem, not the weapon used. In Genesis 9:5-6, God instituted capital punishment for murder: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." This death penalty for murder was repeatedly restated (Exodus 21:12-15; Leviticus 24:17-22; Numbers 35:33, Matthew 5:17-18; Acts 25:11; Romans 13:1-4; Revelation 13:10). But nowhere does the Bible advocate weapon control. The Bible does record the control of weapons by the Amalekites and Philistines (Judges 5:8 and 1 Samuel 13:19-22), but condemns these restrictions on individual defence as a pagan attempt to centralise excessive power.

If firearms cause crime then Switzerland would be a violent, lawless country, because every citizen has weapons of war stored in his home. Yet despite having over 2 million military type rifles and a great many other firearms and weapons of war in private homes, overall firearm abuse is so low as to be insignificant and Switzerland has the lowest burglary and murder rates in the industrialised world.

Also in 1945, at the end of the Second World War, when ten million soldiers returned to America with millions of surplus firearms sold on the open market and hundreds of thousands of captured souvenir weapons, there was actually a sharp decline of violent crime in the USA. This trend was comparable in Britain and South Africa. However, later, with the advent of the "permissive society" and as church attendance decreased, along with the explosion of the drug culture and the sexual revolution - violent crime increased. Clearly guns don't cause crime, people in rebellion against the Laws of God cause crime.

GFSA has also yet to adequately explain why previous gun control campaigns have such a poor track record. Washington DC has the most restrictive gun control laws in the USA, yet it is the nation's murder capital with 77.8 murders per 100 000 inhabitants each year. Arlington, Virginia - where guns are freely available just across the river from DC - has 7 murders per 100 000.

States where firearms are easily available have the lowest incidence of burglary, assault, rape or murder. For example: Virginia Beach; Boise, Idaho and Colorado Springs, which have well armed populations and minimal restrictions on firearm ownership, have the lowest murder rates in the country.

GFSA advocates have imaginatively promoted the "dream... of a country where there are no guns". The suggestion is that violence would cease if only we could have gun control. Of course history records that violencewas prevalent prior to the invention of firearms in the 15th Century! In fact, contrary to the impression created by GFSA, murders involving firearms do not constitute the majority of murders in South Africa. Knives and other sharp objects and clubs are used to murder more South Africans than firearms are. Does GFSA suggest we ban all knives, sticks and rocks?

More people are killed in vehicle accidents than by firearms in South Africa each year. Should we ban motor vehicles? Alcohol abuse accounts for most vehicle accidents. Should we ban alcohol?
More children drown in pools than are shot each year. Should we ban swimming pools?

It is true that each year, tragically, individuals are wounded or killed in firearm accidents and in impulsive "crimes of passion." Should we ban all firearms in reaction? No, it would be better for all concerned if we encouraged more responsible firearm ownership and severely punish abuses. Why do we tolerate traffic deaths? Why don't we just outlaw all motor vehicles? Because motorised transport provides tremendous freedom and convenience. The solution to the horrific carnage on the roads is not to ban motor vehicles, but to improve safety features in vehicles, educate drivers, promote the use of seat belts, and severely punish drunken or reckless driving. As with motor vehicles, it would not be right to take away everyone's freedom because of the criminal activities or carelessness of some.

More Guns - Less Crime

John Lott of the University of Chicago Law School recently completed an exhaustive study on the relationship of firearm ownership to crime. His thorough analysis of the data for all 3054 counties in the United States during the 18 years from 1977 to 1994 has been published under the title: "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws."

Lott's scholarly study exposes the falsehood and folly of many Gun Free SA guesstimates, claims and assertions. For example the GFSA claim that most people are killed by a friend, family member or someone they know. The often quoted statistic is that 58% of murder victims are killed by an acquaintance. What most people don't realise is that this "acquaintance murder" category includes gang members killing other gang members, drug buyers killing drug pushers, taxi drivers being killed by customers they picked up for the first time, prostitutes and their clients and so on.

The vast majority of murders are not committed by previously law-abiding citizens. Ninety percent of adult murderers have had previous criminal records as adults. It is this fact that led the New York police commissioner to institute the successful "Zero Tolerance" campaign that has dramatically decreased the incidence of crime in New York City. They observed that serious violent crime was committed by people who had committed a wide variety of minor crimes first. To counteract this early contempt for the law, New York police now deal severely with all breaches of the law - to instill an early respect for the law and for the rights of others.

Lott documents in his comprehensive study that states with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest drops in violent crimes. Those 31 states which now allow adults the right to carry concealed handguns (if they do not have a criminal record or a history of serious mental illness) have seen a consistent annual decrease in murders, rapes and robberies. As more people obtain concealed carry permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. This he attributes to the fact that criminals are deterred by higher penalties. The most significant deterrent for a criminal is the possibility of being shot by a victim. Concealed handgun laws have brought about a reduction of violent crime because victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves and because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves.

Lott also documents that each additional woman carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for women by about 3 to 4 times more than an additional man carrying a concealed handgun reduces the murder rate for men.

Similarly, children's lives are protected when law abiding adults are allowed to carry concealed handguns. The horrific shooting at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas occurred in one of the "gun free" zones. The laws against firearms being carried anywhere on school property have created a situation where teachers are helpless to defend children from such an attack.

When states have passed "shall issue" concealed handgun carry laws incidents of multiple victim public shootings have declined by 84 percent. Deaths from these shootings have plummeted by 90 percent and injuries by 82 percent.

Tragically, each year an average of 200 children die from firearm related accidents in the USA. However, many more children die each year in bicycle accidents, drownings and fires. Even though there are over 200 million firearms privately owned by about 80 million people, children are 14,5 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a firearm accident.

Some people do use firearms in horrible ways, but far more people use firearms to prevent horrible things from happening to them. These facts are incontrovertible: allowing law-abiding citizens to own and carry firearms saves lives. There are many anecdotal stories illustrating both good and bad uses of firearms. But we need to look objectively at the whole picture - in the light of all the facts and statistics.

Many countries, such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Finland and Israel have high firearm ownership rates and low crime rates. Other countries have low firearm ownership rates and either low or high crime rates, but the facts confirm that blaming firearms for crime is overly simplistic and just not justified by the facts.

Case Studies in Gun Control

Australia

GFSA have pointed to Australia as a country whose gun control laws we should emulate. Yet since the latest extremely restrictive anti-gun laws were enforced, robbery with a firearm has increased more than 13 percent in New South Wales and the numbers of people murdered has increased almost 300% in Victoria.

Of the estimated 7 million firearms in Australia, only 640000 have been handed in or confiscated. The gun-free laws in Australia have, at exorbitant cost (over $500 million), utterly failed to remove the now prohibited firearms from the community, nor have the initially optimistic official predictions that the crime rate would drop by 20% materialised. In fact, violent crime has sharply increased since the introduction of tighter gun control laws in Australia. The Attorney General's Department has in fact publicly stated that the new federal gun laws and confiscations will have no bearing on criminal activity! "This will never prevent criminals from possessing firearms and we never said it would."

The Australian Bureau of Statistics published data shows that the number of firearms in the country, whether registered or not, has practically had no bearing upon the crime and murder rates. Australians have about 7 million firearms in private hands. Yet in 1995, for example, 7464 people died from "external causes." Of these, 2029 were from motor vehicle accidents, 995 from accidental falls, 259 from drowning, 298 from poisons/drugs, 2367 from suicide and 333 from homicide (murder). Of the homicides, only 67 were committed with a firearm. Of the suicides, 388 were committed with a firearm. Of the accidental deaths, 15 were from firearms.

As far as suicides go, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists have concluded that: "because of the low rate of firearm deaths compared with firearm ownership, screening of all people applying for a firearms licence would waste resources." In fact, Japan with heavy restrictions on firearms has far higher suicide rates.

Ireland

In Northern Ireland firearm ownership is severely restricted under some of the most serious gun control laws in the world. However, despite martial law, house searches, roadblocks and other high profile intrusions by the British military, gun control measures in Northern Ireland have failed to prevent the paramilitary and terrorist groups from obtaining all the weapons they need. The seemingly never ending atrocities and murders committed in Northern Ireland, including the horrific practice of "kneecapping," demonstrate the futility of gun control legislation. In the neighbouring Republic of Ireland, handguns are totally prohibited and long rifles almost so. Yet the IRA has still managed to obtain and transport all the weapons it needs in and through the Republic.

United Kingdom

The first minor controls on firearms were imposed in 1920, although smooth bore guns and shotguns were exempted from all control. Shotguns could be purchased without restrictions from hardware stores or sports shops. Restrictions against all firearms owners in Britain were enacted in 1968 following the public outcry over the shocking murder of three policemen by three hardened career criminals. Despite the British Home Secretary having repeatedly stated in Parliament that gun control laws were unnecessary and counter productive, he introduced gun control legislation to divert public demands for the reintroduction of the death penalty - which had recently been abolished.

The effect of the 1968 gun control laws in the UK was that registered rifle and handgun owners were reduced by 32½% over the 26 years from 1968 (when 256 061 were registered) to 1994 (when 172 644 were licenced). (Shotgun owners actually increased, however from 701 562 in 1969 to 971 102 in 1988. However, after 1988 the number of shotgun owners in the UK decreased to 740 441.) Along with the increasingly restrictive gun control laws in Britain, and the decreasing number of registered firearms in law abiding citizens' hands, has come an explosion of violent crime. Since 1968 armed robberies have increased by 1275% (almost 13 times) from 464 in 1969 to 5918 in 1994. Scotland Yard estimates that the number of illegal firearms in Britain numbers in the many millions. Clearly most British gun owners are not willing to part with their firearms. Yet sharp instruments kill 3 to 4 times more victims than firearms do each year. Iron bars have also proven to be more lethal than shotguns when used in robberies.

Germany

In Germany, gun control was first introduced by the Nazis in 1935. Celebrating this innovative legislation, as the first in the Western World, Adolf Hitler declared that gun control would make the streets of Germany safer, it would enable the police to better do their work and other nations in the world would soon follow the National Socialist example by also limiting gun ownership to government officials! Today there are approximately 17 to 20 million firearms in private hands in Germany. Of these only about 3 million are registered. Over 80% of the firearms in Germany are illegally held and a series of police raids have failed to find them.

Foundations for Freedom

English legal tradition and Roman Dutch law upon which our legal system in South Africa is based, have always recognised the right of free citizens to possess and carry weapons for self defence. King Alfred the Great (871 - 899) laid the foundation for English law. The Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 formed the Preamble for these laws. While abuses, such as disturbing a public meeting by drawing a weapon, were prohibited - the basic right to bear arms was entrenched. The Laws of Cnut (1020 - 1023) declared self-defence to not only be a right, but a duty. Those who failed to assist a person under attack were to be fined. Similarly anyone who "illegally disarms a man" was to be fined.

The Magna Carta of 1215 - considered to be foundational to the later American Bill of Rights - guaranteed the right of all free men to bear arms. The English Declaration of Rights of 1689 recognised "the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence." Other free states entrenched this right to obtain, own, carry and use weapons for self-defence, including most notably the United States of America in its Bill of Rights. So important and basic was this considered by the American founding fathers that they placed it in the Second Amendment - straight after Religious Freedom! The first President of the United States, George Washington, declared:

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. To secure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honour with all that is good."

Gun Control Precedes Genocide

If these foundational principles for freedom seem extreme or outdated, then consider recent history:

On 6 April 1994, one of the most dreadful campaigns of mass murder was unleashed upon the Tutsi people of Rwanda. In just 100 days more people had been killed with machetes and clubs than had died from atomic weapons in all of history. The MRND Hutu government of Rwanda instigated, organised and launched this systematic slaughter of the Christian Tutsi minority after enforcing a vigorous gun control. As the population had been previously disarmed they were helpless to defend themselves against the state which had a monopoly of weapons. Over 500 000 Tutsi Christians were murdered in less than 6 weeks.

The confiscation of weapons made the massacres possible by disarming the targeted victims. The holocaust in Rwanda again confirmed that limiting the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families is an open invitation to criminals to attack the innocent.

The genocides perpetrated upon the Christian Armenians in Ottoman Turkey from 1915-1917; upon the Christian peasants in the Soviet Union from 1929-1953; against Jews and Christians in Nazi occupied Europe from 1939-1945; against Christians and anti-Communists in Red China from 1949-1976; against Christians in Uganda from 1971-1979; against anti-Communists and educated people in Cambodia from 1975-1979; and Christian Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 - were all preceded by gun control legislation which disarmed the targeted victims. (For further documentation on the genocide in Rwanda obtain the book "Holocaust in Rwanda" from UCA).

A "gun-free" sticker would not have helped these people, because the greatest threat to life is not from firearm accidents, nor even from criminals! The greatest killer in the 20th century has been secular governments, who have disarmed their own citizens. Approximately 160 million people have been killed, so far, by their own governments in over 40 Communist states, just in the 20th Century alone! This doesn't even take into account the death toll from the National Socialist (Nazi) holocaust, or the repression and persecution in Muslim lands such as Sudan. In these countries gun control also preceded the genocide.

Gun control deprives potential victims of their best means of protection. A free people need to be armed. Disarmed people can easily be exploited and oppressed. If a government doesn't trust its citizens with weapons then the citizens cannot trust the government with power. A government that fears its people is itself to be feared. No government should ever have a monopoly of force or weaponry.

GUN CONTROL PRECEDES GENOCIDE
Case studies, of major 20th century genocide

PERPETRATOR GOVERNMENT DATE TARGETS MURDERED [Estimated] DATE OF GUN CONTROL LAW SOURCE DOCUMENTS
Ottoman
Turkey
1915-1917 Christian
Armenians
1,5 million 1866
1911
Art 166, Penal Code
Soviet Union 1929-1953 Christians Pesants 36 million 1929 Art 182, Penal Code
Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe 1933-1945 Jews, Gypsies, Christians, Anti-Nazis 13 million April 12, 1928 March 18,1938 Law on Firearms & Ammunition,
Weapons Law
China 1949-1952
1966-1976
Christians
Anti-Communists
Pro-Reformers
60 million 1935
Oct 22, 1957
Arts, 186-7, Penal code Art 9, Security Law
Uganda 1971-1979 Christians, Political Rivals 600 000 1955
1970
Firearms Ordinance
Firearms Act
Cambodia 1975-1979 Educated Persons 3 million 1956 Arts 322-8, Penal code
Rwanda 1990-1994 Christian Tutsi 500 000 Nov 21, 1964 Law on the control of Firearms

Total Victims: 114,6 million

Biblical Principles for Self Defence

In Exodus 22:2 the Law of God established the basic right of self-defence. Any person is justified in defending himself whenever he is attacked or his life endangered. Any weapon is permissible for use in self-defence. The Law of God does not say that the home owner is guilty if he uses a sword, but innocent if he uses a club. The issue is not one of weapons, but the right of self-defence.

To limit a person's access to lethal weapons is to limit his ability for self and family defence. Weapons control interferes with our basic right and responsibility for self defence. Ultimately gun control can deprive you of your right to life. The right of citizens to use lethal force to defend themselves is a great deterrent to thieves and attackers. Those who choose not to have firearms still benefit from those who do. If only one in twenty people are armed, it still acts as a restraint on potential attackers who are not certain who is armed, and who is not. The deterrence value of armed citizens against crime cannot be over estimated.

The Westminster Catechism, considered one of the greatest expressions of Biblical teaching, states in its commentary on the Sixth Commandment ("You shall not murder," Exodus 20:13) "The Sixth Commandment requires all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life and the life of others." Because murder is evil, so too are any actions that allow murders to be committed. This would include refusing, or failing, to defend oneself or one's family or neighbours. And any governmental restrictions on the right to self defence would similarly be a breach of the Sixth Commandment.

"Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, Who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." Nehemiah 4:14

"If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1 Timothy 5:8

From these and other Scriptures we can see that the man is responsible for being armed and prepared to protect his household (see also: Luke 22:36; Numbers 32:20; Judges 5:8; 1 Sam. 13:19-22). God is not a pacifist (Eziekiel 14:21; Dan. 5:23; Deut. 32:39-43); neither is Jesus a pacifist (Matt. 21:12-13; Rev. 14:19-20; 19:11-16); nor is the Bible a pacifist document (Numbers 1:2-3; Judges 3:2; Deut. 20:1-4; Psalm 144:1-2). (For further reading on this subject obtain: "The Christian at War" and "Security and Survival in Unstable Times" from UCA.)

"Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked."
Proverbs 25:26

The Tragic Consequences of Gun Control

When these Scriptural principles are ignored the results can be tragic:

The Christians at the Elim Mission Station in Rhodesia were such convinced pacifists that, even within a few kilometres of Marxist Mozambique during a vicious war, they refused to be armed. They had neither a fence nor dogs to protect them. They refused to allow the security forces to station some guards for their protection. When terrorists visited Elim the missionaries provided them with food and medical supplies. On one fateful night, in 1979, ZANLA guerillas herded the 9 missionaries and 4 children onto one of the fields. In front of the parents they hacked the children to death. Then, in front of the husbands, they raped and tortured the women to death. Finally, they brutally murdered the men. Yet so effectively had their pacifist doctrine neutralised them that there was no attempt at resistance. The men stood by and watched ruthless terrorists butcher their loved ones.

In November 1987 a similar massacre took place at New Adams Farm in Zimbabwe. Their sincere belief in pacifism disarmed these 16 precious Christians and made them helpless victims to a frightful slaughter.

Oct. 16, 1991, George Hennard drove his truck through a cafeteria window in Kilene, Texas. He then shot and killed 23 people (including himself), in the 4 minutes before the police could respond. It's tragic that the massacre could have been prevented if just one citizen had had a gun. Instead, Hennard found a cafeteria full of one hundred unarmed, helpless people. One of them was Dr. Susanne Gratia. She is upset with restrictions on carrying a gun with good reason. On that day Dr. Gratia was in the cafeteria eating lunch with her parents. She had carried a gun in the past ,but had now been forced by Texas anti-gun laws to leave her gun in the car. So when Hennard walked by her table, there was nothing she could do. She was forced to watch her parents get shot. "We were sitting ducks," Gratia later said: "Someone legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my loved ones."

By way of contrast to the massacre of 22 unarmed citizens in the Kilene, Texas restaurant, when 3 PLO terrorists opened fire on a cafe in Jerusalem they were promptly shot by armed bystanders. The one wounded surviving terrorist was recorded as complaining: "We were never told that the civilians were armed in Israel!"

For these and many other reasons, Christian Action Network would challenge GFSA to concentrate on persuading the criminals to hand in their illegal weapons and leave the law abiding registered gun owners alone. In addition we would encourage GFSA to join us in seeking to persuade the government to concentrate on controlling crime (and not registered firearms), punishing criminals (and not penalising law abiding citizens), on strengthening the police (rather than restricting the abilities of citizens to defend themselves), and enforcing mandatory capital punishment for all pre-meditated murder (rather than criminalising law abiding citizens for merely having means of self protection).

Peter Hammond (Director)

For further information:

Contact: Gun Owners of America, 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151, USA. Fax: 091-703-321-8408.

South African Gun owners Association (SAGA): PO Box 4310, Marine Parade 4056. Tel: (031) 368-1685. Fax: (031) 368-3498.

Christian Action P.O.Box 23632 Claremont 7735 Cape Town South Africa [email protected] - 021-689-4481 - www.christianaction.org.za
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