DUE to an increase in the number of crimes committed with legal or illegal firearms, the KwaDukuza SAPS found it necessary to launch an awareness campaign about firearms.
KwaDukuza SAPS spokesperson, warrant officer Johannes Khoza said: “We are concerned about the number of cases reported involving the use of illegal and legal firearms.”
He said illegal firearms are usually used to commit crimes such as armed robberies and car hijackings.
Khoza said missing firearms should be reported within 24 hours of being misplaced.
“In the case of a deceased estate firearm that is in the possession of a next of kin, husband or wife of the deceased, the firearm must be reported to the nearest police station where a designated firearm officer (DFO) will offer advice,” he said.
Khoza said there are a number of available options that the deceased’s next of kin could act on in such cases. These are:
* The family can hand the firearm to a dealer.
* They can sell the firearm to a private person who may make an application for the said firearm.
* They can hand the firearm to the nearest police station for destruction because if they keep the deceased’s firearm they can be charged for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
* The next of kin, husband or wife of the deceased may also apply for the said firearm if the applicant does not have a criminal record. When applying for a licence of the firearm the applicant must declare their previous criminal records.
He warned the next of kin of the deceased who decided to sell the firearm without following the proper procedure or legal process that they would be charged in terms of section 120 (10) (a) of the Firearm Control Act of 2000.
“Selling or supplying a firearm to a person who is not allowed in terms of this act to possess that firearm the person found to be in possession of that unlicensed firearm will be charged in terms of section 120 (1) (a) read with section 3 unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition,” he said.
With regards to storage, Khoza said firearms can be stored with a dealer such as Selwels or Kings.
“The storage fee is R50 per month. Firearms may be stored or handed to a licensed person but the office of the DFO must be visited to apply for permission to store the said firearm,” he said.
He urged owners of Liquor outlets that are licenced to ensure that their patrons do not carry firearms inside business premises.
“According to the liquor act 6 of 2010 section 93 (1) (b) it is illegal to be in possession of firearm on a premises that legally sells liquor because there is no safe provided to store the firearm,” said Khoza.
He said the owners of the Liquor outlets are responsible for a five metre radius of the premises.
Khoza said people under the influence of alcohol are not allowed to handle a firearm.
“Firearm license holders must not assist unlicensed firearm holders to buy ammunition using their licenses because they will face consequences,” said Khoza.
He said when an individual is asked to produce a license for their firearm at a roadblock they should not refuse because should they do the police could arrest them for obstructing police work.
He said owners of firearm should ensure that the weapon is in a safe and the safe key in their possession or in a safe place if the weapon is not in their possession.
“High calibre firearms must be concealed with an appropriate holster, all firearms must be concealed because they intimidate other members of the public and an unconcealed firearm could be easily stolen,” said Khoza.