Firearm amnesty: 32?169 guns taken

2010-04-13 00:00

THE firearm amnesty period reached its cut-off at midnight on Sunday, with 32 169 firearms captured in police station systems nationally.

Before the amnesty period between January and April, police reported that 109 582 firearms had already been destroyed.

Citizens were urged to surrender illegal and unwanted firearms as part of the firearms amnesty process.

Of the total number, 27% of illegal firearms were surrendered, while 53% were voluntarily surrendered and 20% confiscated by police in intensified roadblocks, searches and seizures during the amnesty period.

National Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that all surrendered firearms would be taken for ballistic tests to ascertain whether they were used in crime.

Mthethwa said most of those firearms were from Gauteng, with KZN coming second, followed by the Western Cape.

“The numbers are most pleasing as there had been doubts people would surrender their legal firearms.

“On implementing this project we adopted an approach that would maintain transparency and public confidence in the process,” said Mthethwa.

By the close of the amnesty, about 348 083 rounds of ammunition were recovered and surrendered.

“This is encouraging given that it is these three provinces that experience the highest levels of violent crimes where firearms are used. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal need to be commended for the number of guns confiscated by police operations during the amnesty.

“We had also made provisions to accommodate people who still had licences under the old act and 2 500 firearm owners were assisted to licence their firearms under the Firearms Control Act,” he said.

Crime Line on Sunday appealed to the public to blow the whistle on the use and trade of illegal firearms as the gun amnesty deadline expired.

The police launched the gun amnesty in January, giving gun owners the opportunity to hand in their weapons without being prosecuted.

CEO of Business Against Crime South Africa (Bacsa), Dr Graham Wright, has commended Mthethwa and the police for their pro-active stance in putting in place the gun amnesty process.

 

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