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LICENSING OF GUN OWNERS: TOOL OF CONTROL
While England is an excellent place to study the deadly dangers of gun control, it is far from the only laboratory. A quick look at South Africa makes this point.
The same thing could be said of South Africa that Ann Coulter has said about California: "The host of the liberal laboratory experiment has died."
South Africa is dying. It is descending into chaos. Farmers are being murdered, but the only reaction of the racist regime of Thabo Mbeki is to eagerly approve the genocidal starvation of the opponents of neighboring Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugabe.
South Africa has a new gun control law that comes right out of Sen. Charles Schumer's playbook. Gun owners are licensed, their guns registered, and the quantity of ammunition and firearms they can own is strictly limited. Most gun owners are limited to owning four firearms - legally. Happily the country is awash in illegal guns, and hopefully the good guys will stock up while the opportunity permits.
As bad as the law is on the books, the devil, in this case, is in the details of the administration of the law. Writing for the Cape Argus (of Cape Town, South Africa), Estelle Ellis reports that about 70 percent of firearms applications are being rejected by the government. Unlike the drivers' license exams, there are no books the supplicants can study. Everything is completely arbitrary.
The law requires the police to give proper reasons and explanations for what they are doing. But as is the case in every country, the problem is in policing the police. This will always be the problem when the government is allowed to stick its nose into areas it has no legitimate reason to be involved in whatsoever. (Americans, are you listening? Do you really want to "just enforce the gun laws that are already on the books?")
One lady did get a reason for the refusal to grant her a permit - "she had a husband to protect her." Where are the feminists NOW when we need them?
The system in South Africa also requires police officers to make a psychological and physical evaluation of an applicant's fitness to own a firearm. I have warned elsewhere about the danger of allowing psychology to be used to evaluate gun owners. Psychiatrists have been willing tools of oppression by the Nazis and the Soviets. In South Africa, such abuse is in the hands of the police. Forget the shrinks, they have gone directly to the guys with guns for such evaluations!
A prominent firearms activist in South Africa, Martin Hood, reports on a meeting between the National Commissioner of Police, Jackie Selebi, and members of the Central Firearms Registry. Hood says that: "At that meeting it was decided that too many firearms licenses were granted and that 80% of firearms license applications must in the future be refused."
The director of the Central Firearms Registry, Jaco Bothma, told firearms owners that "he would not disclose what a proper motivation for a firearm license is, because if he did, all firearm applications would have the same one." Let me guess. Self-defense is not one of the valid reasons for getting permission to own a piece?
As in England earlier, the South African gun control scheme also requires "proper" storage and requires police home visits to inspect a gun owner's storage facilities.
Meanwhile, South Africa is one of the most violent countries in the world. Gun control clearly is not designed to control crime. It is intended to control subjects.
If South Africans do not engage in massive civil disobedience and arm themselves to the teeth, Zimbabe will be their future.
� 2003 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved
Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.
GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.
Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.
He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.
Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
"The law requires the police to give proper reasons and explanations for what they are doing. But as is the case in every country, the problem is in policing the police. This will always be the problem when the government is allowed to stick its nose into areas it has no legitimate reason to be involved in whatsoever"