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South African reader Gideon Joubert writes:

In the early morning hours of February 14th 2013 world famous paralympian Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, four times through the door separating the toilet from the rest of the bathroom in his Pretoria residence. All four of the shots fired from the Taurus 9mm parabellum struck Ms. Steenkamp, one fatally wounding her in the head. The prosecution headed by Senior Advocate Gerrie Nel, who successfully prosecuted former South African Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi on corruption charges, accuses Pistorius of premeditated murder. The defence counsel headed by the formidable Senior Advocate Barry Roux argues that it was a tragic accident . . .

According to Oscar Pistorius’ affidavit, when he got up during the early hours that morning to close the sliding doors between his bedroom and the balcony, he heard a noise from the bathroom and realised that someone was in there. He was overcome with terror and grabbed his pistol from under the bed and proceeded to the bathroom on his stumps. He did not switch the lights on because he was too scared to do so. He claims to have shouted at the possible intruder to get out of his house, and at Reeva to phone the police for he believed her to be in the bed.

He further claims to have felt terrified and trapped due to the lack of mobility by being on his stumps, and that he then fired four shots through the bathroom door. He claims to have kept shouting at Reeva to phone the police as he moved back to the bedroom, but she did not respond. Upon reaching the bed he noticed that Reeva was missing, and it then dawned upon him that it could have been her in the toilet.

The ensuing trial has generated a firestorm of sensational reporting in both the South African and international media. A wide range of themes are touched upon ranging from gun rights and ownership, to abuse against women, to the high endemic levels of violent crime plaguing South Africa, to bizarrely even racism.

Violent crime in South Africa is something that all citizens are highly conscious of, and it affects almost every aspect of our daily lives. The annual publication of the national crime statistics draws great interest. With over 160,000 people murdered in South Africa since 2004, and 31.9 homicides per 100,000 people in the 2010/11 year is it any wonder that so much fear surrounds the topic of crime? It is this aspect of South African life that Pistorius’ defence team hopes to use to their advantage.

The case itself has provided controversy and sensation on an almost daily basis as the trial progresses: Oscar and Reeva did not have a particularly happy relationship, or so it seems from their instant messaging records read out in court. Mr. Pistorius also stands accused of two previous firearm related offences, one involving discharging a handgun through the sunroof of his car and the discharging of a handgun in a crowded Melrose Arch restaurant, Tashas. He also settled an alleged assault case out of court shortly before the start of his trial, and he is reportedly known to be quick to use threats of violence. These incidents do not paint a favourable picture of Pistorius’ character, and it suggests that there is more to the case than mere mistaken identity.

Pistorius is a member of a firearms collector’s organisation and regularly shot his guns at the range. It stands to reason that he is competent and familiar with the safe and responsible operation of firearms, and that he would be well versed in the basic rules of firearm safety. To put South African law into perspective, Burchell defines private defence as follows: “A person who is the victim of an unlawful attack upon person, property or other recognized legal interest may resort to force to repel such an attack. Any harm…inflicted upon an aggressor in the course of such private defence is not unlawful.”

As a matter of interest South African law does not differentiate between an armed and unarmed attacker, thus there is no onus on the defender to use equal force upon their assailant. According to S Goosen for a situation of private defence to arise evidence must show a) an attack, b) upon a legally protected interest, and c) that the attack was unlawful. Fear alone is not sufficient to justify defence, and private defence may only be utilised when an attack has already commenced or is imminent. Why then did Pistorius shoot through a barrier at an unidentified target in his bathroom that morning? A target that at that stage posed no threat to his person what so ever?

Considering that it is a prerequisite for the issuing of a firearm licence to prove competence with regards to South African law pertaining the use of deadly force in self-defence, Pistorius would obviously have been sufficiently familiar with the law to pass his competency exams and therefore not be ignorant of the fact that his claimed actions were unlawful. Despite this Pistorius pleaded not-guilty to all charges levelled against him.

Whatever the truth regarding the circumstances of that fateful Valentine’s Day morning turns out to be, the sad reality is that Oscar Pistorius’ actions paints South African gun owners in a bad light. When a person causes death or injury through reckless or negligent driving, we do not penalise and blame all motorists for the actions of an irresponsible driver: instead we expect the guilty party to take responsibility for and to face the consequences of their actions. Pistorius has a record of not taking responsibility, such as his claim that the GLOCK in the Tashas incident went off on its own accord. As it stands Pistorius still has not accepted responsibility for the far-reaching and much graver charge he is on trial for. Wouldn’t it be logical for Pistorius’ negligence, if it is not in fact murder, to be scrutinised and condemned rather than gun ownership?

Unfortunately this is not the case, and the firearms community is faced with an illogical and emotional attack upon its integrity and communal responsibility, all due to the actions of a negligent individual. Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) have used the trial to attempt to influence public sentiment against civilian ownership of firearms. One of their core anti-gun arguments is that a gun owner is four times as likely to be killed with his own gun, than he is to successfully use it in self-defence. This statistic was recently disproven by a proactive gun owner who contacted the original researcher commissioned by GFSA, and they have been grasping at straws ever since to support their statements in view of their lack of statistical evidence.

In light of GFSA’s propaganda and certain inaccuracies propagated by the media, Gun Owners of South Africa (GOSA) have spearheaded an effort to educate and inform a seemingly ignorant media and public with regards to firearm ownership. The Pistorius trial has served to energise a previously inactive population of gun owners to become proactive in promoting and defending their rights, and it has contributed to the international debate regarding civilian gun ownership.

If Reeva Steenkamp’s tragic death is to have at least one positive consequence, I hope that it will be a stronger and more unified body of responsible South African gun owners fighting for and protecting our rights.

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  1. ok – BS!

    Four rounds, all hits, one of which struck the head, low and to the right on a door that appears to open outwards. This tells me the shooter new about were the person on the other side was, and that that person was holding the handle, leaning backwards and down, using their body-weight to keep the door closed.

    Yeah, thats going to be a tough defense, there buddy.

  2. One of our PH’s or, guides down in South Africa, had to write a 21 page dissertation on why he should be allowed to own a Glock brand GLOCK.
    Gun ownership there is a bit quirky.
    If he possessed the gun according to their laws, he knew better than to shoot through a door.

  3. I wonder what all the people on here who were upset about the New Mexico ruling about non citizens have to say? By their logic, who cares about SA, they are not U.S. citizens: therefore, they are garbage.

    I mean, they must be less than human because they are not designated as U.S. Citizens by the people calling themselves the United States.

    From my perspective, I wish all the inhabitants of South Africa (don’t give a crap about their “citizenship”) luck in protecting their fundamental rights as they are threatened by the people calling themselves the state of South Africa.

    • Indeed, I pray for the day when the right to self defense sees global recognition and enumeration. While we’re at it I’d also like a chocolate dinosaur unicorn that craps funfetti cake.

    • As a South African, I can see I also hope to see our right to bear arms expanded, but unlike the United States, we do not have it in our constitution(but funnily enough we had legal gay marriage before the US). I doubt there will be in my lifetime any major positive change for gun owners. The problem is mostly the political ideology here is much further away from that of the west. We have wide spread corruption and the state seems to have its hand in ever pie(nationalization of mines, the electrical grid, and several other sectors).

      The fact is we have a gun registration system where your right to own a firearm expires after a set period of time, which you have to reapply for periodically to keep. Though honestly, firearms freedom is on the bottom of the list of problems to solve here, widespread corruption being at the top(you know your corrupt when your president upgrades his vacation home with millions of dollars of public funds).

    • Hardly anyone in SA believes it was an accident, bar a select few nutcases of a very special variety. Unfortunately murder is hard to prove, but Gerrie Nel is doing one heck of a job in nailing the guy. He has been tearing OP a new one for the past few days in court.

  4. I would think banning gun ownership in South Africa would cause even more white flight from a sinking ship. I have a personal interest in this as my wife has a business relationship with a South African company. Wish them luck.

    • South Africa is not a sinking ship. I live here with my wife and two daughters. My friends and I ride for social club called the STONECUTTERS133 they have business’ and the they live here. Their families live here and they have friends who live here and not one of those people believe we have a sinking ship. A little boy walked into a school in the US and stabbed a number of children, there has been yet another shooting at an army base. I don’t think the US is a sinking ship even if large parts of American society believes Obama, is a bad President. I have a combat background and though I am getting hold. I am still very good at what I did. I am a gun owner, I am coloured and my wife is white, my kids are mixed and we have friends. We don’t feel like we are sinking.

  5. “He claims to have shouted at the possible intruder to get out of his house…” (and then opened up on the bathroom).

    Yeah I’m sure they could have just opened the door that goes from the bathroom to the outside and left.

    What’s really disgusting is how the media takes something like this and equates it to other gun uses like that of Zimmerman.

    • To the media’s credit, and that isn’t something I say often at all, they did at least compare it to the OJ Simpson trial on a few occasions…which I dare say is more accurate.

  6. Who could direct their fire that accurately without hearing speech or screams from the person on the other side of the door indicating their location, left, center, or right? He doesn’t have radar.

    Why would he investigate a noise in the bathroom without putting on his prostheses or turning on the light? Did he think fighting on his knees in the dark was a plan? No. This argues for impulsive rage at work.

    Above all, who would believe he didn’t know whether his beautiful girl-friend was in bed with him? Her location would be the first thing he would check before any thought of leaving the room.

  7. If we are to believe Oscar the Grouch, he has neither legs nor brains. And I don’t believe a word out of his mouth.

    He was worried that a home invader was in his toilet? Doing what? Stealing the Charmin? Taking a refreshing dump before annihilating the Big O and his woman? Admiring his reflection?

    Oscar’s story reeks worse than his hopper.

  8. I can’t stand to hear this puke blubbering in the courtroom anymore. Whatever is not known, what IS known is that, at an absolute minimum, he was in gross violation of Rule # 4. I don’t know about the laws there but here we have criminally negligent homicide.

  9. Due to recent events involving our graduates, we are reevaluating our curriculum and will not be enrolling students for the foreseeable future. Thank you for your patience.


    The Biden School of Self-defense

  10. “If Reeva Steenkamp’s tragic death is to have at least one positive consequence, I hope that it will be a stronger and more unified body of responsible South African gun owners fighting for and protecting our rights.” I hope you are right, Dan. South Africa abolished the death penalty back in ’95 so I am not sure if justice for Ms. Steenkamp is in the cards.

  11. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, this case has pushed civilian gunownership into the spotlight. We gun owners now have an opportunity to turn this attention to our advabtage. Had Reeva been able to defend herself this tragedy might never have happened at all. The answer is more guns, not less!

  12. Day 1 on the stand, Oscar went on and on about his “troubled” upbringing and how he was taught to do what’s right. Stand up for himself.

    Sadly, he hasn’t admitted to either 1) Cardinal sin of a gun owner shooting at an unknown target or 2) He willfully murdered his GF.

    The prosecution already paraded out neighbors saying there was yelling before the gun shots, character witnesses on OP’s anger issues, character witnesses on OP’s gun-play, texts between OP and the deceased where she said she was afraid of him and his mood swings (maybe she should have dumped him?), and even his answers to the self-defense legal vs illegal self defense question demonstrating he perfectly understands shoot vs no-shoot situations.

    This isn’t a matter of gun rights, its a question whether this one individual is either a grossly inept gun owner who made the stupidest and worst mistake he could make or that he murdered her in a rage.

  13. Buddy doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    Sorry, but it was WAY too easy. I’m surprised no one else said it here first…

  14. When you wound an animal you follow it up and normally finish it off with a headshot !! Coincidence that the last shot was a headshot??
    Pistorius is an embarrassment to men and firearm owners.
    He deserves the rope…

    • And he would have gotten the rope if found guilty twenty years ago. Sadly in this day and age capital punishment is deemed too inhumane a fate for even the cruellest and most vicious of murdering and torturing scumbags. I wager that those sentiments are held only by people who have never had a loved one murdered or raped.


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