Charl van Wyk

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

“In this day and age, gun grabbers try to use international organizations such as the United Nations to promote their efforts to undermine Americans’ Second Amendment rights at the same time that they try to channel emotional outrage generated by such horrendous domestic crimes as the recent Virginia Tech massacre into demands for more restrictive domestic gun control legislation,” CCRKBA Public Affairs Director John M. Snyder noted recently in Washington, D.C.
“Faced with this situation,” he continued, “we can not help but be aware that the effort to disarm law-abiding American citizens has international as well as domestic components.”
On the other hand, said Snyder, “there fortunately also are international champions of the right to self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms whose commitment to the cause of freedom serves to bolster our own dedication to preserve our rights as recognized by our Second Amendment. This is especially significant now as responsible public authorities continue to warn us regarding the perpetual threat of potential terrorist attacks.
“One of the most articulate of the international right to self-defense champions is Charl van Wyk of the Republic of South Africa whose words and actions over the years merits his designation as CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for July. I had the pleasure of meeting Charl and his wife Sophia during their recent visit to the Washington, D.C. area and I think he is most deserving of this Award.”
In July, 1993, Charl was one of the worshippers during a St. James Church service in Cape Town when a gang of Marxist-Leninist terrorists attacked the parishioners with grenades and AK-47’s. In what became known as the St. James Church Massacre, the terrorists, members of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, murdered 11 members of the congregation and injured another 58.
“Grenades were exploding in flashes of light,” Charl stated. “Pews shattered under the blasts, sending splinters flying through the air. An automatic assault rifle was being fired and was fast ripping the pews – and whoever, whatever was in the trajectory – to pieces. We were being attacked!”
Charl was the only member of the congregation who was armed. He fired five return rounds with his .38 Special revolver, wounding one of the terrorists, and then the gang fled.
“Instinctively,” he recalled, “I knelt down behind the bench in front of me and pulled out my .38 Special snub-nosed revolver, which I always carried with me. I would have felt undressed without it. Many people could not understand why I would carry a firearm into a church service, but I argued that this was a particularly dangerous time in South Africa.”
The incident led Charl to become an even more ardent defender of the right to self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms than he already had been.
He recounted his experiences and reflections in his book, Shooting Back – The Right and Duty of Self-Defense, and founded Gun Owners of South Africa.
A member of the Anglican Church of South Africa, Charl is Assistant Director of Frontline Fellowship, which he describes as a trans-denominational Christian missionary organization.
In his book, he argues that Christians have not only the right but also the duty to defend themselves and other innocents from violent criminal aggression.
Recently, he decried the fact that one year before the “unprecedented shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, the state’s General Assembly quashed a bill that would have given qualified college students the right to carry handguns on campus.”
Charl van Wyk believes “there is a striking paradox associated with mass murders. They are far more likely to occur in areas that have been designated as gun-free zones. Worldwide, office buildings, hospitals, convenience stores, TV studios, chain restaurants and day-care centers have all been targets of homicidal maniacs. Mass shootings occur less often in areas where responsible citizens may carry weapons. Expecting a suicidal individual to honor a law prohibiting firearms is sheer utopian fantasy. Declaring gun-free zones risk leaving potential victims defenseless.
“In Israel, however, teachers and parents serving as school aids are armed at all times on school grounds with semiautomatic weapons. Since this policy was adopted in the 1970s, attacks by gunmen at schools in Israel have ceased. Government officials must be aware that if they create a gun-free zone, they are liable for any harm it causes. History and common sense prove that gun-free zones are dangerous.”