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Has Gun Free South Africa lost its credibility?

Ludwig Churr challenges recent claims made Gun Free South Africa.

Gun license feature

Ludwig Churr looks at a media statement Gun Free South Africa released last year. An article on GFSA's comments was posted to ewn.co.za at the time.

GFSA media statement handed to media claims:

MEDIA STATEMENT

PROOF: SOUTH AFRICA'S FIREARMS CONTROL ACT HAS SAVED THOUSANDS OF LIVES

Media Statement: Proof - South Africa's Firearms Control Act has saved thousands of lives (26 April 2014): 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. Media Statement: Proof - SA's Firearms Control Act saved thousands of lives

http://www.gfsa.org.za/latest-news/media-releases/

GFSA to show media proof other than their own in house researchers findings and own GFSA website claims. GFSA own internal research report has numerous flaws and should be removed from GFSA website.

In summary:-

1) Oxford University never published any reports or done any SA Gun Act 2000 research.

2) The research after statistical adjustments only suggests, it does not proof anything.

3) The source of research data is not disclosed. SA Stats and SAPS reports are not acknowledged nor can they supply the information used in the report.

4) The NIMSS system cover only 1 of the 5 stated cities researched, yet appears to be the source used for this research paper.

5) 3.5 years of the research period (2001 to 2005) is invalid as the Gun Act 2000 was only promulgated in July 2004.

6) The fact that the lead researcher and publisher and specialist scientist [Burden of Disease Research Unit, Medical Research Council] Dr Richard Matzopoulos, is also a committed and active board member of GFSA, is not stated in the in-house publication, nor in the GFSA website blurb.

7) The blurb at the end states that Dr Matzopoulos paper is based on research published in the American Journal of Public Health: March 2014, Vol.104. No 3. Pp.455-460. Thus:- Matzopoulos paper is based on his own research that he published himself in the USA.

Neat. Please reveal the real source of the data.

In an ironic twist. GFSA now contrary to their own research proof findings as stated above, claim that gun violence has escalated. How is that for contradicting their own committed and active board members research published on their own website?

Just how independent can this new research be as it is based on a paper published by their committed and active board member? It is one and the same paper just redressed. The news release is referencing the Dr own publication as his source material. The referenced publication was authored by Dr Matzopoulos not disclosing his external source references. Not forgetting that the Gun Act of 2000 was only promulgated 3.5 years into this research period. Not forgetting that 4 of the 5 researched cities stated are not available on the NIMSS data base. GFSA has actually debunked their own research. Thanks GFSA for supporting my claims.

In an attempt to obtain a thin veneer of credibility, the GFSA website blurb mention Oxford University four times and a reputable American Journal of Public Health publication twice.

1) Oxford University confirmed that they never did any research. Later on in the GFSA blurb it is mentioned that the researcher was part of a group that presented numerous papers at Oxford University as part of a SA delegation. It alludes that he might have been part of what? Oxford University or official SA Delegation? It all depends on how wants to read the website news report.

2) The USA health publication in addition to repeating the above, publish an abstract that states inter alia that there was a statistically significant decrease, ultimately reaching conclusion thus:- Strength, timing and consistent decline suggest stricter gun….

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2013.310650

Prior to paying US$ 30.00 to obtain this report in full, take note of the following facts:-

After making statistical adjustments, the report suggests, and does not give "Oxford University" proof positive as claimed on the GFSA website. GFSA website states: Media Statement: Proof - South Africa's Firearms Control Act has saved thousands of lives …….presented today at the University of Oxford

3) The USA publication states that:- " After controlling a range of variables such as age, sex, date and time etc. the only plausible explanation is the effect of the Firearms control Act …suggesting….."

Just how plausible and suggestive is this explanation that is suggested?

The research period spans five cities for the period 2001 to 2005.

Q. When was the gun Act of 2000 promulgated?

A. July 2004. Thus 3.5 years of the study needs to find a different plausible explanation as it was enacted 3.5 years after 2001.

Q. Which 5 cities were used?

A. Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.

Q. What is the source of the data?

A. That is not disclosed. Even direct communication with the researcher failed in this regard. I was advised to buy the full report to discover the source. However it was not Stats SA nor was it SA Police stats. That left the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) NIMSS report. National Injury Mortality Surveillance System as the best option for this type of information. MRC confirmed that the researcher used their NIMSS reports for a study on gun violence. This of course does not exclude other sources, but options are limited.

Q. Must there be other sources?

A. Yes. Because the NIMSS system in 2009 only covered the same 10 cities that they cover in 2011. Only JHB is on their database. The other 4 cities reported on are not covered by NIMSS. Perhaps the researcher will now feel morally obliged to disclose his other additional sources?

Q. How good is the NIMSS system?

A. There are a number of questions on the NIMSS published reports that have been reported to MRC and I will publish their reply when received. (See attached letter) A copy of this expose was sent to MRC for their records. However the NIMSS report gives its own acknowledgment of limitations and the report can be viewed at the MRC website.

GFSA spokesperson Claire Taylor stated that "the importance of this research cannot be overstated." To obtain some credibility please either publish this full expose on your website or refute each statement showing that your own board member report is flawed and compromised.

GFSA want to save lives by removing all guns, will this work?

Scenario 1. An intruder enters a home and kills four persons as follows:-

1) Kills the husband with a knife

2) Kills the wife with a four pound hammer

3) Kills the boy by strangling him.

4) Kills the little girl by beating her to death.

Not one death can be attributed to gun violence, and is according to GFSA desires.

After killing four and robbing the residence the perpetrator can repeat the same crimes an infinite number of times as there are no witnesses and nobody else owns a gun for self-defence. GFSA disarmed them all and none are killed with a gun.

Scenario 2. An intruder enters a home of four and is shot dead by the home owner. One perpetrator killed. We will never know how many lives this one action might have saved. Yet GFSA will use this one gun death as part of their statistics to call for a total population disarmament.

Worse yet, GFSA calls all justified self-defence actions violent crimes as they cannot define how many deaths resulted from legal self-defence actions by police or security company actions. Gun deaths caused by police and security companies in protecting lives (violent acts as per GFSA) are lumped together with illegal gang wars and drug related shootings. More disgustingly, all police officials killed in line of duty deaths are rated the same as those of criminals shot by police in performing their legal duty. This global stew pot lumping all deaths together is used for propaganda statistics by GFSA.

GFSA looks at the total number of gun deaths regardless if it was legal self-defence or not, and use this one global total number of gun deaths for a call to disarm all legal gun owners. The GFSA own in-house research claims that the Firearm Control Act 2000 has saved lives as many people handed in their legal owned guns during the gun amnesty arranged organised and promoted by GFSA.

In another ironic twist, GFSA now complains that the guns handed in during the amnesty period was handed to criminals. In yet a further ironic twist, GFSA now call for more guns to be handed at gun free zoned churches and schools. Shorten the route to criminals receiving the same guns? How will churches and schools destroy these guns? Receive guns at gun free zones?

Many lives have been saved by gun owners. I have personally saved a person's live and no shot was fired. Trying to stop a knife fight between six people all armed with knives by pulling out a bigger knife is just not going to cut it. Pun intended.

Further ironic twists and turns from GFSA website http://www.gfsa.org.za/about-us/history/

GFSA played a leading role in the amnesty; monitoring the process, thereby ensuring civil society oversight and transparency and assisting the police with communicating the amnesty message.

How good was GFS monitoring?

GFSA website http://www.gfsa.org.za/gfsa-condemns-theft-of-guns-by-corrupt-cops/

4 June 2014: Gun Free South Africa condemns arms scandal in which corrupt policemen allegedly supply arms and ammunition handed in during amnesty to criminals

Despite GFSA condemning their own GFSA monitoring and overseeing the previous Amnesty, guns landed up in criminal hands. And yet in another ironic twist GFSA now want Gun free zones churches and schools to receive and destroy firearms. Can GFSA monitor all churches and schools and how will they destroy the guns?

Did GFSA learn from their own history? From GFSA annual report:-

GFSA was instrumental in the drafting of South Africa's current firearm legislation, the Firearms Control Act (2000), which remains one of the best pieces of firearms legislation in the world. Instead we've offered an alternative viewpoint - that people are safer and freer without guns. South Africa today is a safer country because of Gun Free South Africa. GFSA served as the official independent monitor for the amnesty process, with monitors working across five provinces. Monitors undertook unannounced oversight visits at over 200 police stations nationally. These visits checked on each station's compliance with the amnesty process, verifying that the firearms recorded as handed in were in fact held in the police safe.

Firearms Control Act (FCA). The Act, which was promulgated in 2000. (This was July 2004. GFSA Please correct your annual report)

In June 2011, the Minister of Police published an amendment of the Firearms Control Act for public comment. (GFSA was informed in June 2011 and SA gun owners in Dec 2011?)

Would still allow members of the community to defend themselves, as nowhere does it prohibit self-defence. (Yes but with what? Unlike GFSA, we cannot all afford to be protected by an armed security company) "We are not just an anti-gun group", Jaynes says. "We have a radical vision that one day there will be no more guns in this country".

Confront anyone carrying a dangerous weapon, including a crossbow, sword or replica firearm; there have been a number of incidents of the latter being used to commit crimes including robberies and rapes.

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