Amnesty confuses gun owners

2010-04-08 13:04

Johannesburg - As the 2010 firearms amnesty draws to a close this weekend, many gun owners are seeking advice after receiving mixed messages from the police and gun dealers, the SA Gunowners' Association (Saga) said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Martin Hood said the police ministry was acting in bad faith by saying the amnesty period, which ends on April 11, must be used to update old firearm licences.

"By presenting the amnesty as an opportunity for firearm owners to surrender their licensed firearms and any right they have to compensation, the minister is misleading the public in an opportunistic attempt to serve political objectives.

"The best course for those with old green card licences is to sit tight and do nothing at this stage. If you so wish, you may of course apply for new licences to replace your old ones. Either way, there are no guarantees," Hood said.

He said the January 11 to April 11, 2010, amnesty declared by Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, applies only to unlicensed firearms and not to firearms for which valid green cards or new licences are held.

Hood said the ministry was using every possible opportunity to pass off the amnesty as an opportunity for those who did not apply previously to renew their "old" licences within the set deadlines.