′18 people are shot daily′ | Globalization | DW | 12.03.2014
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'18 people are shot daily'

The trial of Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius has thrown the spotlight on the problem of gun ownership - and gun control - in South Africa. DW's Johannesburg correspondent Dagmar Wittek looks at the issues.

Listen to audio 09:41

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is on trial, charged with the pre-meditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who died after being shot four times on Valentine’s Day in 2013. The paralympic gold medalist is also charged with three firearms offenses.

While Pistorius has admitted to killing Steenkamp in his Pretoria home on February 14, he has pleaded not guilty and claims he fired through the bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.

The rate of violent crime remains disturbingly high in South Africa. It’s a reality that has prompted some locals to carry their own guns for protection. There are almost 6 million privately owned firearms in the country, according to gunpolicy.org.

Pistorius’ trial has renewed debate around gun ownership and violence in South Africa. Some rights groups, like Gun Free South Africa, are using the case to lobby for a crackdown on guns.