Athlone Police are raising awareness among residents about the firearm amnesty which is running until the end of May. It is aimed at making communities safer.“The amnesty is primarily to reduce the circulation of illegal firearms and to address the fundamental causes of crime in order to effectively protect all communities. “General Bheki Cele, minister of police, officially opened the Firearm Amnesty period from 1 December 2019 to 30 May 2020,” says Sgt Zita Norman, the spokesperson for the Athlone police.Unwanted and unregistered firearms, firearm parts and ammunition that people unlawfully have in their possession can be surrendered at the nearest police station during this period.“You can hand the firearms in at the police station between 08:00 and 17:00, including weekends. The amnesty provides indemnity from prosecution to any person for the unlawful possession of a firearm, firearm parts and ammunition.“An unwanted firearm relates to firearms that are lawfully in someone’s possession, but that their owners no longer need or require, that are unsafe to use or in a poor state,” she says.Unwanted firearms also relate to firearms that were inherited from a deceased person, and which the person is not interested in keeping. “If you bought a property and the previous owner left it behind and you found it, that is also an unwanted firearm. You can surrender that firearm at the police station. An illegal firearm is a firearm or part (s), which is not licensed and possessed in accordance with the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No 60 of 2000). If the firearm or parts of it is not registered to the current owner, does not have a serial number or has a removed (defaced) serial number, or is in the possession of a person who does not have a licence for that firearm, that is an illegal firearm,” Norman says.If your firearm licences have expired, you can surrender it without facing prosecution.“The Act further allows the person surrendering the firearm to apply for a licence. The aim of firearm amnesty is to create a safe country for all by ensuring all unwanted and illegal firearms are handed in. No names will be made public and no-one will face prosecution,” Norman says. Call Lt Col Clive Nicholas on 082 378 9176 for more information.