The trial of Oscar Pistorius has gained the attention of South Africa as well as worldwide recognition. The case involving the passing-away of Reeva Steenkamp, by Oscar Pistorius through the use of a firearm, has prompted an emotional empathy from global spectators for the families involved. Also due to the global attention the trial has received, there has been productive discussion and awareness of gun control in South Africa and beyond. This may offer opportunities to discuss the legitimacy of the laws surrounding firearms in South Africa.
As a result of this trial South Africa’s relationship with firearms has been bought to the forefront of international debate. Health and safety legislation of the preventative measures that are currently in place to avert outcomes like this occurring have been questioned. Under the Firearms Control Act, for an individual to possess a firearm in South Africa there is regulatory framework that grants authorisation only to satisfactory and competent applicants. An example of acceptable reasoning for individuals to possess such an instrument is for the use of regulated sporting activities.
The control and legislative of the handling of gun control has been debated in South Africa for an extensive period of time. Firearm Free Zones set up in the country may be viewed positively by inhabitants, seen as a way of building a safe environment; others however might consider it their right to possess a firearm as a form of self-defence. Acknowledgement of the importance of knowing how to use a firearm correctly and understanding the necessary regulatory measures may aim to prevent future situations like Reeva Steenkamp’s.
Pistorius’s actions have shed international recognition on the fact that South Africa’s legislative measures regarding self-defence with firearms and the policies employed to encourage social growth,may need to consider implementing a greater duty of care towards individuals. This trial’s contribution to raising awareness might hopefully be influential in prompting greater preventative measures. Through his actions Pistorius may be the catalyst to bring improved information of firearms and raise questions regarding the legitimacy of using these instruments on a local, national and possibly even international platform.
Steenkamp’s family have maintained their presence through the trial in support of justice. Their presence at this challenging time is a display as to why preventative legislation is necessary to encourage informative and correct methods when practising firearms. They may have the opportunity to promote progressive change in South Africa’s laws and activate international debate of the responsibilities firearm users have towards others. Their brave display of solidarity is a shining light to those affected by firearms in South Africa and globally.
With the final verdict of the trial being reached, one of the aims carried on further from this trial is to bring awareness regarding the legitimacy of firearms. South Africa may have already been encouraged to assess the preventative measures in place and with further pressure exerted from this trial, a discussion about passive alternative to firearms could be opened. Reeva Steenkamp’s passing away succeeds in bringing valuable awareness and renewed interest in legitimate legislature.
Oscars Pistorius’s trial provides worldwide incentive for society to reflect upon gun legislation and to have a more mindful understanding when it comes to the practice of firearms.
What improvements on gun regulation may come from Pistorius’s trial?