In 2000, South Africa passed the Firearms Control Act. Since then, violence by handguns, Taylor said, has dropped steadily, often by double digits.
Among the law's rigors: Before it was enacted, 16 was the minimum age to own a gun; today it's 21. To apply for a gun, you have to take competency tests, akin to a driver's license test, which demonstrates that not only can you shoot straight, but that you also know the law and how to store your firearm safely.
Next, law enforcement conducts a background check that runs an applicant's criminal history and also tries to assess whether the applicant has a propensity for violence, may be mentally ill or suffers from an addiction that might cloud their judgment. An applicant must give references whom the authorities will interview, including relatives and a spouse, if that's possible, Taylor said.
Authorities go a step further, checking medical information and digging into any instances of domestic violence or employment issues.
Once licensed, gun owners must reapply and requalify for their licenses every two to 10 years.
South African law also helps ensure that only one gun per person is approved. If someone is a sport shooter or has a reason that for needing to own more than one gun, he must file a separate application and explain, Taylor said.
The law isn't a fix-all
The law isn't perfect. As one South African correspondent put it, guns are still very much a part of the culture. Signs at South African airports and casinos point to where consumers should drop off their weapons.
And gun ownership advocates say that is why people are still incredibly afraid of hearing someone creeping in their house at night.
There are about 2,000 guns stolen from legal gun owners in South Africa every month, according to Gun Free South Africa.
Between April 2005 and March 2011, more than 18,000 police firearms were reportedly stolen or lost. Guns have gone missing from police stations.
There's also a severe backlog in gun license applications, some of which date back several years. A task force has been appointed to look into the problem, Taylor said.
All of this has highlighted one fact for the country gun rights organization Gun Owners of South Africa.
Executive Wouter de Waal told CNN that it is "dead easy" to get weapons illegally.
And there's little reason for armed burglars to think they'll be caught and punished. The rate of arrest and prosecution in the country is 7%, said former detective Rudolph Zinn, who wrote a book about home invasions and now trains South African police.
He believes there's one chief reason for that: Few South Africans trust law enforcement because in recent years, the police force has become politicized, with higher ranking officers who are politically appointed.
"In 1994 there was a push to have policing more community-focused, there was more legislation to focus on that," he said.
"There was a distrust related to our heritage," he says, referring to apartheid, "and unfortunately, over the years, we've gone back to that. I saw it often when I was a detective.
There are undoubtedly more home invasions, he said, than are officially counted.
"People don't even want to report a crime," he said, "because they don't believe anything is going to come of it."