I HAVE to give Gwynne Dyer some credit for his views on gun control in the Zimbabwe Independent (November 4). There was that mildly reproachful tone that indicated the Brazilians had done something he wasn’t happy with, it’s true, but he
did concede that firearms are not somehow inherently evil and that it is not guns that shoot people but people who shoot people.
And he also conceded another point which the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London and numerous police chiefs in Australia have come to admit in the wake of draconian gun control legislation which hasn’t reduced gun-related crime – that criminals don’t hand in their weapons.
Sadly, there was still that why-on-earth-would-anyone-want-to-have-a-gun theme underlying throughout. Dyer did not inform us that in terms of disciplines shooting is the second largest sport in the Olympic Games, surpassed only by track and field. Nor did he mention that if one includes sport-hunting, shooting is the third largest sport in the world.
In short, he did not acknowledge that perfectly normal people might want to own firearms for perfectly legitimate reasons.
I have recently returned from South America, where I competed in the 14th Practical Pistol World Championships in Ecuador. There were just under 900 shooters from 54 countries worldwide.
We spent some time in Brazil on the way back, and I honestly did not realise that my life was constantly in danger from some crazed gun- wielding sociopath. But looking at the socioeconomic conditions there, I can see why they have a high crime rate.
The same could be said for Venezuela, but the five Venezuelan shooters in my detail all appeared remarkably sane.
I suspect that what the people of Brazil really voted against was a law which would further restrict their freedoms but not reduce the crime rate.
I J Larivers,
Zimbabwe Pistol & Smallbore