Gun-free areas are deadly

PRESIDENT Zuma says there are too many guns floating around South Africa.

We need to ask : do laws prohibiting firearms in certain places really prevent homicidal tragedies?

There is a striking paradox associated with multiple victim shooting. They are far more likely to occur in gun-free zones.

Worldwide, office buildings, hospitals, shops, TV studios, restaurants and day-care centres, have been targets. Multiple victim shootings have taken place in such places after they were declared gun-free zones.

In 1999 John Lott and William Landes published a US study of multiple shooting incidents, showing that mass shootings occur less often in areas where responsible citizens carry weapons.

Do mass shootings ever occur in police stations, on shooting ranges or at gun shows? Mass murderers select soft targets.

Expecting a suicidal individual to honour a law prohibiting firearms is sheer Utopian fantasy.

In Germany 16 people were killed in a public school shooting in April 2002. Another two incidents were the killing of 14 regional legislators in Zug, a Swiss Canton, in September 2001 and the massacre of eight city council members in Paris in March 2002. All these took place in gun-free zones.

Firearms make it easier to kill, but they also make it easier to defend yourself. Removing all firearms from society risks leaving potential victims defenceless.

In the US thugs using firearms at schools between 1997 and 2002 killed 32 people. The total includes gang fights, robberies, accidents and shooting. They took place in gun-free zones.

Zuma must know that if the state creates a gun-free country it will be liable for any harm it causes. Why would the authorities rather see law-abiding, disarmed citizens die than risk armed citizens harming a criminal? History and common sense prove that gun-free areas are dangerous.

Charl van Wyk, Clareinch