Oscar Pistorius’ family said Tuesday they own guns for sport and hunting purposes, according to AFP.
This statement comes a day after Henke Pistorius, the father of the Paralympian who shot his girlfriend, said people in South Africa, including them, carried weapons for their own protection.
However, the family disagrees with this statement, claiming they are deeply concerned about Henke Pistorius’ comments. They assert the statement doesn’t represent the views of the rest of the family.
Henke Pistorius said his family had 55 guns mainly for their own safety, because the governing African National Congress (ANS) had been unable to tackle crime and protect white people in South Africa.
ANC itself reacted to these claims Tuesday, accusing the athlete’s father of a racist statement and distortion of the truth.
According to BBC, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu welcomed the family's decision to distance itself from the comments.
“It is sad that he has chosen to politicize a tragic incident that is still fresh in the minds of those affected and the public,” Mthembu said.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of crime in the world, so owning weapons is probably very common there. The Central Firearms Registry reported that around 2.9 million firearms were owned by 1.5 civilians in 2011. Interestingly, according to Gun Free South Africa, that was a reduction from 1994, when 2.4 million of people had 3.5 licensed guns.
Oscar Pistorius himself had one handgun license when he shot his girlfriend, but had applied for licenses for six more guns.
The Paralympian killed his girlfriend, famous South African model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in his home in Pretoria. He was charged the next day for premeditated murder.