‘Firearm amnesty a right move’

2015-08-27 09:05

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THE likelihood of a gun amnesty and tighter firearm regulation is becoming more of a reality, believes a lobby group pushing for tighter firearm control.

Gun Free South Africa has identified KwaZulu-Natal as one of the most violent provinces for gun violence in the country.

But gun advocates have maintained that until the South African Firearm Registry is run efficiently any talk of “disarming law-abiding” gun owning citizens would be short-sighted.

Gun Free South Africa’s Adèle Kirsten said when the country undertook its first gun amnesty in 1994, the idea of all guns being scrapped from society was seen as being far-fetched.

“There is now over-arching evidence that shows that less guns result in less gun-related deaths. There appears to be a shift and this is based on scientific knowledge,” said Kirsten.

But the Gun Owners Association of South Africa spokesperson Richard Best said while gun amnesties should be taken seriously, the firearms handed in needed to be properly destroyed.

“What has become apparent is that guns handed into the police are finding their way back onto the streets,” said Best.

He said any further calls for tighter regulation would be unjustified and would be perceived as punishing the law-abiding gun owners for the deeds of illegal users.

According to the SAPS provincial spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane any decision to hold an amnesty would rest entirely with the national Police Department.

The discussion of gun amnesty has become a talking point in recent days after Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato said such an action would reduce the circulation of illegally-owned firearms used by the province’s notorious gangs.

His call for amnesty is the result of a provincial departmental study on the Firearms Control Act (FCA) and firearm-related crimes.
Plato acknowledged there was a gun problem in the province.

In March the SA Parliament hosted the National Firearms Summit to discuss gun ownership, a possible amnesty and tighter regulation.

Part of the outcomes was the need to hold an amnesty.

Read more on:    kwazulu-natal  |  guns

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