New Era Weekend took to the streets in the northern towns of Ongwediva and Oshakati to find out what fuels Namibians’ passion for guns, and if gun owners have had some sort of training on how to handle their deadly weapons. Many of those who admitted to owning licensed firearms are young people, and interestingly there were also a great number of women professionals who own firearms – mostly small pistols. All those who spoke to New Era Weekend requested not to be identified for fear of social stigmatisation.
The interview also revealed the attitude of gun owners. Such as the gun owner who confessed to being always armed, even when in public areas where it is not necessary or prohibited to carry a firearm, to feel protected.
“I bought my gun to protect myself from an abusive partner,” said a young woman. By her own admission she did not undergo any sort of training or practical instruction on how to handle her pistol. She has also never fired it.
One gun owner, a very good-looking woman, spoke of always having her gun nearby – in the purse or somewhere near her pillow when she is asleep – “for easy access”.
“The decision as when to shoot a gun is discretionary and not necessarily a training aspect,” responded one gun owner, when asked about his feelings on receiving training or practical instructions on how to handle a firearm.