The girl in women who own firearms

Firearms associations and dealers have reported a significant increase in applications for firearms licenses and firearms competencies for women in South Africa.

Bianca Bell, owner of Kalahari Arms, a firearms dealer based in Randburg, Johannesburg, says her store has seen women’s purchases of firearms triple over the past few years.

Read: Crime and the ‘terrible toll’ it takes on South Africans

“There has been an astronomical increase in sales to colored women,” she notes.

According to Girls on Fire campaign organizer Lynette Oxley, women are not only beginning to train firearms for the sake of empowerment, but also to participate in traditionally male-dominated sports shooting tournaments.

She says the campaign has seen women from all walks of life participate in skills training workshops in hopes of possessing a firearm.

“Small-caliber firearms have been a popular choice for the ladies at Girls on Fire,” adds Oxley.

Damian Enslin, president of the South African Gunowners’ Association, says increases in firearms licenses and competency applications are seen when high crime statistics are released. “Later of significance is that more women are also buying firearms.”

Firearms applications

The South African Police Service (SAPS) confirmed an increase in firearms applications during its presentation in August 2021 to a parliamentary portfolio committee.

The Central Firearms Register (CFR) reported that around 143,000 new firearm licenses were registered in 2020/21, while 107,000 applications were submitted in 2019/20.

CFR says it processed 188,296 competency certifications during the 2020/21 period.

Read: Violence against women and children in SA a ‘second pandemic’

Crime against women and children

In connection with the release of the latest crime statistics on June 3, Police Minister Bheki Cele noted that the first quarter of 2022 was particularly brutal for women and children.

“Murder, attempted murder and assault GBH [grievous bodily harm] all recorded double-digit increases. Murder and assault GBH of children under 17, also recorded sharp increases. However, the number of attempted murders of children has fallen by 6.8%, ”he said.

“Out of 6,083 people killed in the country, 898 of them were women and 306 were children under 17 years of age.

“Alarmingly, the murder of children recorded an increase of 37.2% during the reporting period,” Cele said.

Oxley points out that a remarkable number of women who have joined the Girls on Fire campaign revealed that they were previously victims of gender-based violence and violent relationships.

“Most ladies want a self-defense weapon. It’s empowering and it changes the way you feel about yourself,” she adds.

Nondumiso Death is a Moneyweb intern.

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