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South 2 North

Can laws eradicate gun violence?

We discuss the devastation caused by gun violence in communities worldwide and ask if gun legislation is the answer.

Last Modified: 08 Jun 2013 09:51
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No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

Thousands of people fall victim to gun violence every year. From the mass killing in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, to the countless school shootings in America, guns in the wrong hands have had devastating consequences for communities worldwide.

So is there anything that we, our politicians and our police can do?

Jake Adelstein, the first guest on this episode of South2North, is an American investigative crime reporter and author based in Japan. His book Tokyo Vice details his time investigating the Japanese mafia and will be turned into a movie next year. He still lives under police protection in Japan.

Adelstein explains how, after World War II, the US disarmed Japan and made gun legislation incredibly strict in order to stabilise the new democracy: “Gun laws in Japan are incredibly strict. It is a crime to fire a gun. It is a crime to own a bullet. It is a crime to own a bullet and a gun that match, that’s an aggravated felony that will get you life in prison. Every aspect of owning and using a gun, other than hunters who have gone through rigorous inspections, who are professional shooters ... You just can’t have a gun in Japan.”  

Adelstein concludes that this strict regulation has made Japan a much safer place to live.

Redi then talks to Richard Feldman, who has a very different view on gun control. Feldman is the president of the American Independent Firearm Owners Association. A former police officer and advisor to several US presidents, Feldman has dedicated most of his career to protecting the rights of gun owners and the firearms industry. He has a personal collection of 150 guns.

“The problem is never the gun per se. The problem is always in whose hands are the guns … In my country we’ve decided to err on the side of the people, not on the side of the government. What people around the world don’t often recognise about the United States of America it’s not about the gun per se, it’s basically people responding to the view; does the government trust me with the guns I’ve owned for 30 or 40 years?... If they don’t trust me, why should I trust them?” remarks Feldman.

Redi asks if the recent deaths in the Unites States due to gun violence mean that the government should not trust gun owners.

“If we use that same logic then we ought to ban automobiles and alcohol, because there are horrible tragedies that occur every day in the United States with cars and drunk drivers," says Feldman.

The final guest Antony Altbeker is a government advisor and award-winning author. Altbeker has played a critical part in shaping South Africa’s post-democracy criminal justice system, and in reducing gun crime. South Africa has halved its murder rate in 12 years, some of which was related to reducing many gun-related homicides.

 

South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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