Feminism aside,

Abused woman with tape over mouth

Putting aside the usual bickering around power, career or even respect and focusing on safety would have many women agreeing that feminism is far from the reason we ask for guns. In the perfect world we would all have big strong fathers, husbands or partners to protect us from the unknown dangers out there.  Unfortunately we live in South-Africa, a country where the amount of high-jacking are more than jobs available. As the murder rate increase, so does the demand for proper self-protection. Considering the violence and brutality of criminals in South-Africa, counting on the police for protection is much like taking a knife to war. Any gun owner can tell you that, when it comes to the safety his family, his firearm guards the gate.

 Living in this far from perfect country, we as women demand the right to protect ourselves. We deserve the opportunity to develop and acquire the skills to properly handle and use a firearm. We as mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and most of all as women deserve the right to protect ourselves and those we love.  Over the years, guns have gained quite a negative stigma mainly due to our country’s violent crime rates, especially against women and children. But, just because these weapons are used in crimes, murders and other violent acts around the world, does not mean that we should be given sticks as guns are dangerous. We would like to dispel the stigma of guns and show hoe they are simply tools or a means to an end, the end being the safety of your family, friends and loved ones.

With adequate training, and a will to live, a gun is a powerful weapon and can protect you and your family against harm. Fortunately, there are great, privately owned training facilities that can provide just the training you need in order to be gun-proficient. The Firearm Control Act of 2000 stipulates that, as a registering gun owner, you need to comply with the rules and stipulations of the act and would require one to fill out the necessary paperwork, complete the necessary tests and pay the necessary fees.

So, feminism aside. We want guns!

 

What if the tables were turned…

But, if you’ve been following the news, as most South Africans do, then you would know that Oscar and Reeva’s relationship was a tumultuous at best. At times, Reeva feared for her safety and Oscar, numerous times shown to be a hothead with a short temper, undoubtedly made life very difficult for Reeva. The constant fighting culminated on Valentine’s Day of 2013 with Reeva, bags packed, ready to leave Oscar. It would be the last night of her life. In the early morning of Thursday, February 14th, Reeva got out of bed and went to the bathroom. A few minutes later Oscar woke up and, after hearing noises, grabbed his gun and fired 4 shots through the bathroom door, hitting Reeva and killing her instantly.

Now, what if Reeva had a gun? Could she have defended herself and be alive today? It was well known that Oscar had a volatile temper. Often, in domestic abuse cases, women have a difficult time confronting their abusive spouses and Reeva could have been in the same situation. In the end, all of us can only speculate to what Oscar’s real motives was towards Reeva.

 Did he fire on what he believed to be an intruder or did he intentionally fire at his girlfriend? Things could have turned out very differently if Reeva owned a gun. If she was fearing for her life then she may have carried the weapon everywhere she went. If she received adequate training in the correct use of firearms she may have been able to defend herself and she may still be with us today. After her death, Reeva and murdered teenager, Anene Booysen we’re named SA Persons of the Year 2013 by the online newspaper, The Daily Maverick.

The death of Reeva and the atrocious rape, disembowelment and murder of Anene Booysen highlights the disturbing reality of violence against women in our country but it also highlights an important need. The need for women to own and successfully operate firearms in order to protect themselves. A gun is simply a tool and the person handling it can use it for either good or nefarious purposes. If Reeva Steenkamp and Anene Booysen owned guns and knew how to use them they would probably be alive today.