Many South Africans are buying guns after communities were left to fend for themselves in the recent riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The protests and looting caused tremendous harm, including R15 billion in property damage and R1.5 billion in stock losses.
Approximately 3,000 stores were looted, with extensive damage caused to 161 malls, 11 warehouses, 8 factories, and 161 liquor outlets.
What shocked many South Africans is that the police and military were nowhere to be found during the uprising, and communities and business owners were left to protect themselves.
Many people feared for their lives and their property during the riots. This, in turn, has resulted in a spike in demand for firearms.
Gun Owners of South Africa chairperson Paul Oxley said there is a gun-buying craze in the country following the looting and unrest.
Speaking to ENCA, Oxley said some gun shops sold a million rounds in ammunition in one day following the riots in KwaZulu-Natal.
While it takes a long time to get a firearm license and a gun, many South Africans seem to plan ahead by investing in a firearm.
“People have seen that they are the final defence of democracy, as recognised by the police, the president, and the ANC,” said Oxley.
“People are doing what they need to do to defend themselves, their community, and their democracy.”
He said community members were on the frontlines to protect themselves against criminals. These people are now looking to arm themselves by buying guns.
Commenting on the current legislation around gun ownership, Oxley said onerous licensing requirements fuel the illegal gun trade.
“When the legislation is too severe, it drives people to seek alternatives,” he said.
There is a large black market for guns in South Africa, which Oxley said will grow unless the government makes legal gun ownership easy.
He said legal gun ownership does not increase crime. Instead, it gives communities the ability to stand up and defend themselves against criminals.