n South African Medical Journal - Gun control saves lives : editorial

Volume 106, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



In the January edition of SAMJ, Prinsloo . reported that data from the police and a recent study of injury mortality based on postmortem investigations showed a significant decrease in homicide in South Africa (SA). In 2000, SA had one of the world's highest homicide rates, estimated at 67 per 100 000 population, but this had almost halved by 2009 to 38 per 100 000. Several studies have shown that the decrease has been most evident in firearm-related homicides and that it coincided with the introduction of stricter gun control legislation. One study estimated that more than 4 500 lives were saved across five SA cities from 2001 to 2005. Pro-gun interest groups seeking to promote gun ownership and diffusion have attacked these findings, suggesting that stricter gun control was only enacted in 2004 following the publication of regulations pertaining to the Firearms Control Act (FCA) of 2000. They also argue that the 5-year study period ignored a pre-existing downward trend in firearm homicide, and that postmortem figures conflicted with official statistics, such as those presented by Statistics South Africa (SSA).

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