Articles and Posts

Monday, 08 July 2019 09:31

Global Gun Destruction Day 9 July 2019 - Gun Free SA calls for destruction of guns to stop leaks fuelling murder

9 July 2019: 11 people were shot and killed in Philippi East on the Cape Flats this past weekend. The guns used were most likely once legal before they were lost or stolen.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:18

Gun Free SA welcomes police destruction of 30,000 unlicensed guns, calls for action to stop leakage risk

Wednesday 17 April 2019: Gun Free South Africa welcomes today’s destruction by the police of 30,000 seized and surrendered firearms. The last such destruction took place on 27 October 2016.

Says Claire Taylor, Gun Free SA’s researcher, “It is globally recognised that destroying excess, unwanted and recovered firearms, ammunition and firearm parts is the only way to guarantee that these are not leaked into the illegal pool of weapons.”

International experience shows that firearms, ammunition and firearm parts in storage awaiting destruction are particularly vulnerable to being diverted, with risk increasing once details have been published. The details of the firearms being destroyed today were published on SAPS’ website on 14 March 2019.

South Africa’s experience confirms the risk of leakage from gun stores before destruction:

  • In 2014 police recovered an arms cache that included guns handed in to the police for destruction during the 2010 national firearms amnesty before they were stolen and sold to criminals, allegedly by corrupt police officials.
  • In 2016, Christiaan Prinsloo, a former Gauteng police colonel, was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for selling confiscated and surrendered guns, including guns handed in during amnesties, to Western Cape gang leaders.

Leakages like these have two impacts. First, as gun availability increases, so does gun violence. In the six years between 2011/12 and 2017/18, murder in SA increased by 31% and aggravated robbery by 37%; a shocking 41.3% of murders and 59.5% of aggravated robberies in 2017/18 were gun-related. Currently 23 people are shot and killed every day in South Africa, up from 18 a day in 2009.

Secondly, public trust in the police is eroded. When gun owners hand their guns in to the police, they trust the police to destroy these guns. By not destroying these guns, the police fail the public and South Africa as a whole. The result of this loss of confidence is that members of the public with unwanted guns are less likely to hand them in to the police for destruction. Instead, they remain in people’s home, where they can be used in domestic violence and suicide or be stolen by house robbers. In 2017/18 members of the public reported the loss or theft of 24 guns every day.

Based on SA’s experience of guns earmarked for destruction being leaked from police stores as well as global good practice, on 21 March 2019 Gun Free SA made a written submission to the police calling for three steps to ensure that weapons earmarked for destruction today are indeed destroyed:

  1. Marking of firearms All firearms scheduled to be destroyed today must be marked prior to destruction to show that the weapon was held within a destruction storage programme. 
  2. Independent verification An independent verification mission must be established and tasked with ensuring that firearms, ammunition and firearm parts listed on schedules published on SAPS’ website are still in police stores and are destroyed today. 
  3. Data sharing Data sets listing the details of all firearms, ammunition and firearm parts scheduled to be destroyed must be shared with regional and international policing agencies to monitor transnational diversion.

Says Taylor, “Today’s destruction is a unique opportunity for the police to take meaningful action to improve national safety by preventing the leakage of guns in police stores and building public confidence in the police.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION For interviews or additional information, please contact:  Sara Chitambo – Gun Free SA communications officer: 071-876-1135, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Claire Taylor – Gun Free SA researcher: 072-341-3898, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For SAPS’ media advisory of the destruction on 17 April, see https://www.saps.gov.za/newsroom/msspeechdetail.php?nid=20127

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 07:15

GFSA Submission on Firearms Destruction: Government Gazette No. 422849

Government issued a Gazette on 6th March 2019 noting their intention to destroy all surrendered weapons on 28th March 2019 and inviting comment. View the submission by Gun Free South Africa on the notice in Government Gazette No. 42284.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 10:01

A request to declare polling stations firearm free zones on 8 May 2019

A request to declare polling stations firearm free zones on 8 May 2019 submitted by GFSA, ISS, HSRC and SWOP. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013 13:38

Gun Free South Africa’s response to release of 2012/13 crime statistics: “Increase in violent crime not surprising”

Gun Free South Africa is not surprised at the increase in violent crime, in particular the increase in both murder and attempted murder. Over the last two years the organisation has raised concern about the integrity of the firearms control management system, in particular the issuing of firearm licences. Furthermore, trauma surgeons across the country have noted an increase in the number of people presenting with gun shots at tertiary-level hospitals during this same period. Are the increase in the number of firearms in circulation and the increase in both murder and attempted murder connected?

Friday, 20 September 2013 13:38

Children cannot be gun-proofed

September 16-22 is the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence; which makes Wednesday’s shooting, in which a 13-year-old accidentally shot his friend with his father’s gun and then shot himself, even more tragic. The gun, which by law should have been stored unloaded in a safe, was left under a mattress. In a similar incident last month, a 6-year old shot and killed her best friend with her grandfather’s gun – which was also not safely locked away.

Friday, 14 February 2014 13:37

What does Reeva Steenkamp’s death tell us about gun violence in SA? Know the Law. Use the Law. Save a Life

A year ago today Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed by Oscar Pistorius. Apart from being celebrities, Reeva and Oscar’s story is not unique: A man legally buys a gun to protect himself and those he loves from a stranger intruder; instead he uses his licensed gun to kill the person he loves. In 1999, 34% of women murdered by their intimate partner were killed with a gun; in 2009 this figure dropped to 17%. At the same time, the percentage of women killed in other ways (e.g. strangled, stabbed or beaten) remained the same. The researchers at the Medical Research Council assert that the single most important intervention that contributed to halving the number of women shot and killed by their intimate partner was the implementation of the Firearms Control Act (2000).

Sunday, 16 February 2014 13:36

Guns are 85% more lethal than other suicide means. Be responsible: Hand in your gun during Teen Suicide Prevention Week

Guns are 85% more lethal than any other means used to commit suicide. Gun Free South Africa urges gun owners to be responsible during Teen Suicide Prevention Week (16-22 February 2014) and hand in their guns to the police for destruction. Says Gun Free South Africa’s spokesperson, Adèle Kirsten, “There are different ways to help prevent suicides, but one step is clear; reducing a suicidal person’s access to a lethal weapon helps save lives.”

Monday, 10 March 2014 13:31

Two Part Media Q and A for Oscar Pistorius murder trial

PART 1: What Reeva and Oscar’s story says about gun violence in SA Part 1:

  1. What does Reeva and Oscar’s story tell us about gun violence in South Africa?
  2. Is the story of Oscar and Reeva unique?
  3. Who owns what guns in South Africa?
  4. Who gets shot and killed in South Africa?
  5. Men, women and gun violence
  6. Can we prevent gun violence?
  7. Can the law prevent gun violence?
  8. Are guns effective in self defence?

PART 2: Understanding the gun-related charges against Oscar Part 2:

  1. Who is allowed to own a gun in SA? (Gun for self defence and unfit to own a gun)
  2. List of charges Oscar faces relating to contravening Firearms Control Act (Detailed information relating to contraventions and what the Firearms Control Act says in relation to contraventions)
Saturday, 26 April 2014 13:30

Proof – South Africa’s Firearms Control Act has saved thousands of lives

Evidence that South Africa’s Firearms Control Act (2000) has saved thousands of lives is being presented today at the University of Oxford. The research, which was published in the March 2014 edition of the reputable American Journal of Public Health, shows that over 4,500 lives were saved from gun violence in five SA cities between 2001 and 2005. Lead researcher and specialist scientist, Dr Richard Matzopoulos, is presenting his findings at the South African Democracy Conference at the University of Oxford (24-26 April). The purpose of the research was to assess the impact of South Africa’s Firearm Control Act, passed in 2000, on firearm homicide rates in five South African cities (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria) from 2001 to 2005. In total, the research suggests that 4,585 lives were saved across the five cities from 2001 to 2005 because of the Firearms Control Act. 

Wednesday, 04 June 2014 13:30

Gun Free South Africa condemns arms scandal in which corrupt policemen allegedly supply arms and ammunition handed in during amnesty to criminals

We call for a complete investigation into how firearms handed in by the public during the 2010 national firearms amnesty have been found in an arms cache discovered in Norwood last month; for every person found guilty of involvement to face the full might of the law as a warning to others; and for every oversight body responsible for monitoring policing in South Africa, including police management, parliament and the Civilian Secretariat of Police, to ensure that systems aimed at safeguarding guns held by the police are implemented. 

Tuesday, 01 July 2014 13:29

Gun Free South Africa Calls for Moratorium on Gun Licences and Forensic Audit of Central Firearms Registry

Gun Free South Africa urges the newly appointed Minster of Police, Mr Nhleko, to place a moratorium on the issuing of any new firearm licenses and to conduct a forensic audit of all firearm licences issued since 2010. The arrest of three police officers from the Central Firearms Registry for allegedly issuing fake gun licences including to 28s gang kingpin Ralph Stanfield is yet another example of the unreliability of the firearms control management system. Fraud and corruption in the gun licensing process allows guns to leak into the illegal pool of weapons; once there they are extremely difficult to mop up, and being robust commodities, are used repeatedly to commit crime. The cost of this breakdown in the integrity of the system is in lives lost and those who are injured and survive – it is too great a cost. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014 13:28

Police Act Key to Ensuring Cops Firearm Fit

Gun Free South Africa calls for the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act to include a consolidated section dealing specifically with police and firearms in response to the Police Minister’s disclosure that a quarter of the police officers required to carry a firearm are not competent to do so. In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Mr Nhleko reported that by 14 July 2014, 39,333 of 155,534 SAPS members (25%) required to carry a firearm did not have the competency to do so.

Thursday, 30 October 2014 13:27

Welcome ANC call for stricter gun laws to reduce gun violence

Gun Free South Africa welcomes the ANC’s call to this morning to “review existing gun control measures with a view to limiting access to guns that end [up] in the wrong hands,” and reducing the number of illegal guns on South African streets.

Tuesday, 04 November 2014 13:23

Response to SA Football Association’s Gun Control Campaign

Gun Free South Africa supports the Gun Control Campaign launched by the South African Football Association (SAFA) this morning in honour of Senzo Meyiwa and the 17 other people shot and killed every day in South Africa. 

Saturday, 30 January 2016 13:23

Stop Police Using R5 Massacre Rifles

As the South African Police Service celebrates its 20th anniversary in Kabokweni, Mpumalanga today, social justice activist organisation Amandla.Mobi and Gun Free South Africa partner in a campaign to ban R5 rifles in public order policing.

Friday, 05 June 2015 13:22

Police leaving service guns at work would save lives

Gun Free South Africa urges government to protect police and their families by legislating members to leave service pistols at work when off duty. GFSA’s call follows the shooting to death of 5 people on Wednesday night, when a police constable shot and killed his girlfriend, two of her relatives and a police colleague at Alexandra police station as she tried to open a domestic abuse case against him; the constable was later killed by police.

Friday, 26 June 2015 13:21

Marikana’s Farlam Commission Fails to Save Lives by Banning R-5s in Crowd Control

Social justice activist organisation Amandla.Mobi and Gun Free South Africa are deeply disappointed that the Farlam Commission of Enquiry’s report into the 2012 Marikana massacre makes no recommendation to prohibit R-5 rifles – the assault weapon used by police to kill 34 miners – in Public Order Policing. 

Thursday, 09 July 2015 13:20

Applaud SA destruction of firearms on International Gun Destruction Day

Gun Free South Africa applauds the state’s destruction of firearms today, International Gun Destruction Day, at Arcelor Mittal Steel Factory, Vereeniging. Today’s destruction as significant for 3 reasons: Firstly, it represents an act of solidarity with all those whose lives have been devastated by gun violence as many of the firearms destroyed today were used to murder, injure, threaten and intimidate innocent people. Secondly, today’s event demonstrates South Africa’s compliance with international practice regarding the destruction of firearms. Finally, by destroying these guns, SAPS is ensuring that they can never find their way back into circulation – to kill, injure or threaten anyone. Destroying these guns has a direct bearing on reducing crime. Less guns means less gun violence…and a safer South Africa for all. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 13:19

Gun Free South Africa, Sonke Gender Justice and Women’s Legal Centre launch campaign “Know the Law, Use the Law, Save a Life: Domestic Violence and Dangerous Weapons”

As we celebrate another Women’s Month in South Africa, violence against women continues unabated. For many families there is little cause for celebration: the family of Sowela Nkuna, killed by her police husband in Alexandra in June this year and the family of Reeva Steenkamp, as the person responsible for her death, Oscar Pistorius, is due for release after less than a year in prison. While women make up just 10% of gun homicide victims in South Africa, firearms still play a significant role in violence against women; guns are used to kill, rape, threaten and intimidate. The message of this joint campaign is very simple: know the law, use the law, save a life. 

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Latest News

9 July 2019: 11 people were shot and killed in Philippi East on the Cape Flats this past weekend. The guns used were most likely once legal before they were lost or stolen.

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Wednesday 17 April 2019: Gun Free South Africa welcomes today’s destruction by the police of 30,000 seized and surrendered firearms. The last such destruction took place on 27 October

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Government issued a Gazette on 6th March 2019 noting their intention to destroy all surrendered weapons on 28th March 2019 and inviting comment. View the submission by Gun Free South Africa on

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