On Pointe - Gun violence and enforcement

YOU'RE driving on a highway and as you approach the toll, you slow down and suddenly there are two loud bangs. There is a commotion but it still has not occurred to you that those were gunshots. The next day you read that gunmen shot at a car at the toll booth.

A few days later in the news, a woman driving with her children in the car is shot dead in a busy open carpark.

At a traffic light in broad daylight, a politician is killed while waiting for the lights to change.

Two brothers are shot after repossessing a car.

Days later, reports of three people in a bullet proof vehicle are shot at on the way from the airport.

Then in broad daylight, a man is gunned down at point blank and the whole thing is caught on video.

It isn't too hard to imagine this happening in the US, but these are not just fictitious stories but what's been happening in Malaysia these past few weeks.

After all, the average Malaysian has probably only heard gunshots on a TV show or video game but not in real life. The closest we get is probably super loud rogue fireworks that when detonated make you jump up shouting superlatives and secretly wishing the perpetrator loses his or her hearing at least temporarily.

These stories of gun violence are true local news pieces just from the last few weeks itself.

Are guns that easily available? The answer seems to be yes. Not only are they easily available, black market prices make them even more affordable.

We must have gun control laws? We do. The Arms Act 1960 states that only with a Malaysian firearms licence can one own a gun. There needs to be a justification as to why the firearm is needed and how it relates to public safety and public interest.

On paper there seems to be a thorough process in place yet we see a spate of gun violence crimes almost every week now.

Surely there is a gap between process, registration, implementation and what is happening on the ground. We hear of hitmen, some professional and some not and yet they seem to have too good an aim which is scary enough.

It hasn't occurred yet but what happens when a stray bullet hits someone? How many stray bullets are needed before this is taken seriously which then leads to the question of who protects us and how do we then protect ourselves?

For the average person, it is very worrying. Not only are there such crimes happening on a frequent basis, but that firearms are so easily available and used in other crimes.

What is frustrating is how misleading these gun violence stories are. Each one has a justification or a reason that seems to overcast the fact that there are so many guns illegally available. A business deal gone sour, a politician in a contentious area, people working in gang-related jobs. So gun violence is then blamed on the victim and their circumstance.

They were in a dodgy business deal and therefore got killed which then dims the light on gun violence and tries to make these stories targeted and isolated.

While such explanations contribute to the motive to shoot and kill, it does not take away from the fact that such crimes are brazenly committed and no one is talking about gun control and gun violence. The fact that guns are so easily available should ring alarm bells.

These may come across as isolated attacks and lack of a better word "justifiable" but if these firearms are so easily available, what does it mean in a wider context?

How easy is it then to acquire mass amounts of firearms and ammunition for something more sinister.

While we want to think that there are protection mechanisms in place, the fact that firearms are so easily available puts great doubt over those protection mechanisms.

So instead of fixing the problem of blackmarket purchases which has a lot to do with corruption, stricter laws are then formed but to what extent? The laws in place should be sufficient enough if the implementation and preventive measures are followed.

We can blame everything from porous borders to foreigners and illegals but if the weakest link is enforcement, then not only is gun violence going to get worse, it will be part of everyday Malaysia.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com