Gun violence comes from many sides: murder, mischance, mistakes… but every shooting is avoidable – if there was no gun at all. With support from the Commonwealth Foundation, GFSA launched the #GunsoutofHand campaign during Global Disarmament Week 2022 (24-30 October), to tell the stories of ordinary South Africans whose lives have been instantly shattered by a gun.

“By showing the irreparable and irreversible impact guns out of hand have on the lives and communities they pierce, we are challenging myths about gun ownership and inspiring action to stop gun violence,” says Adèle Kirsten, Director of GFSA.

The first of the #GunsoutofHand videos launched during Global Disarmament Week, with other stories being released throughout the year. These include the family of 16-year-old Josh Edwards, who await justice for the shooting of their son by another minor. The story of Lynworth Mentoor, the victim and survivor of a stray bullet from an unknown shooter. And Avril, a mother left without her son Alcardo Andrews, who is working with other mothers who have lost children from gun violence.

#GunsoutofHand is based on studies showing that guns do not help build safer communities. Instead they confirm that owning a gun is unlikely to help in self-defence scenarios and increase the risk of harm or death.

While most crime is committed with illegal guns, all illegal guns were once legal before they were lost or stolen, and leaked into the illegal market.

Given that 24 legally owned guns, the majority owned by civilians, enter the illegal market every day, more legal guns directly translates to more illegal guns, which worsens the problem that people buying guns for self-defence are trying to solve. “The most obvious way to stop guns getting out of hand is to not buy a firearm at all,” says Claire Taylor, Researcher at GFSA.

“What we find in all #GunsoutofHand stories is that gun violence can happen to anyone,” says Mary-Ann Nobele, Gauteng Regional Coordinator at GFSA. “We want people to say, ‘yes, that happened to me too’. If people speak up about how guns got out of hand in their life, maybe they can stop just one bullet. Or many,” concludes Nobele.

Join the #GunsoutofHand conversation on social media or find out how you can take action

Read more about the #GunsoutofHand campaign here

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