In light of the thread Boy, 8 shoots himself at Mass. gun show I thought I'd post this article and throw in my five cents' worth: Man in court for killing 4-year-old (2008-10-29) Before I say anything else I just wish to point out that I'm aware that this topic is probably getting tired for many. Also, this particular situation is open to a lot of criticism (rightly so) and thus I do not want to address the specific issues at stake here (the idiocy of chasing after a cellphone thief with a firearm for one), but rather the question "Should personal firearms be allowed in public?". Let's get some of the preliminaries out of the way: 1. Considering South Africa's violent crime statistics in comparison to the rest of the world (Assaults Per Capita, Murders Per Capita, Rapes Per Capita to name a few) as well as the fact that we are bordered by an Africa that has been subjected to extensive warfare over the past century making a "no gun zone" virtually impossible, I think it is illogical if not downright dumb to make it illegal for a person to own a firearm. 2. Having said that, can it be shown, however, that owning a firearm and carrying it in public significantly increases one's chances of surviving a violent crime scenario? This is a hazy area since, as a developing country, reliable statistics are almost impossible to come by. 3. Finally, in light of the two points above, I am of the opinion that firearms should be allowed for the protection of your family as well as yourself, but should be limited to protection against attacks at home (OFTEN the case). This will make for a controlled scenario where the chances of injury to an innocent bystander are virtually none as well as increase your chances of successfully defending yourself (you know your house and if you realise someone has gained entry to your property you have ample time to prepare yourself before they necessarily get to you/your family). However, I do not believe that carrying a personal firearm in public is of any benefit to anyone. If the possibility of injury to a member of the public exists (even if this possibility is "statistically insignificant") it is NOT a chance worth taking. Are there any documented cases of where an average "Joe" or "Jane Smith" carrying a personal firearm in public was of any benefit to anyone?