South Africa -(AmmoLand.com)- A couple of years ago we received the shocking news that a senior police officer had been arrested for various firearms-related crimes.
Former Col. Chris Prinsloo, then the provincial Dedicated Firearms Officer of Gauteng, had, over a period of years, stolen, or otherwise removed firearms from SAPS stores or facilities, many of which had been surrendered by former licensed firearm owners, and then sold or otherwise disposed of them, many apparently to members of gangs. It appears that some 2000 firearms, worth about R9m had been stolen.
The case against Prinsloo was recently concluded when he was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment. Prinsloo did not act alone – it seems that he had accomplices within the police and the private sector. Not only did he commit heinous crimes (racketeering is currently considered one of the most serious crimes), he also contributed to the unlawful proliferation of firearms to gangsters and accordingly, directly or indirectly, contributed to violence.
It gives no pleasure to report on this matter. Prinsloo was a well-respected, experienced and knowledgeable member of the police. However, he betrayed society, including all law-abiding firearm owners, by putting self-interest before his loyalty to the people, the Constitution and the law. SAGA condemns this type of conduct in the strongest possible terms. We have empathy with all those affected by violent crime, especially the families of those killed or the victims injured in shooting incidents in which these stolen firearms were used.
South Africa is a country fraught with violence and corruption and there appears to be a great deal of distrust of the authorities and the citizens. Since firearm ownership is not considered a constitutional right, all responsible citizens, including people in positions of trust, need to play their part in ensuring that the aims and objectives of the Firearms Control Act are promoted, especially to ensure that they properly safeguard and safely use their firearms and prevent the proliferation of illegal firearms. Although many gun-free advocates will use the Prinsloo debacle to promote further and more strenuous firearm restrictions and measures, the case has proven, once again, that laws do not prevent crime – we need people with integrity to enforce the law. If licensed firearm owners behave responsibly and safely, law enforcement has one thing less to focus on.
SAGA promotes the right of all law-abiding and responsible citizens to decide to own firearms for legitimate reasons and to use such firearms safely.
About South African Gunowners’ Association:
The South African Gunowners’ Association (SAGA) is a non-profit, non-discriminatory organization, whose sole purpose is to represent the interests of all people who embrace the principles of safe and responsible ownership and usage of firearms for sport, recreation, hunting and self-defence.
For more information, visit:www.saga.org.za.