Only 2 weeks left to surrender unlicensed and unwanted firearms, police warn

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Police have warned the public to surrender unlicensed or unwanted firearms.
Police have warned the public to surrender unlicensed or unwanted firearms.
PHOTO: Getty Images
  • Police have warned the public to surrender unlicensed or unwanted firearms.
  • The deadline is 31 January.
  • After that, those in possession of such weapons will be prosecuted.

If you have any unwanted or unlicensed firearms or ammunition lying around, now is the time to surrender it to avoid prosecution.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has reminded the public to surrender illegal and unwanted firearms, firearm parts or ammunition without fear of prosecution, thanks to a firearm amnesty that ends on Sunday, 31 January.

But police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said: "With only two weeks left, the SAPS is concerned that since the approval of a second amnesty period, only an additional 23 399 firearms and 119 781 rounds of ammunition were surrendered in the period commencing 1 August 2020 to date. This constitutes a small percentage of unlicensed firearms which we know are still in circulation."

"Of the firearms surrendered, 3 139 were voluntarily handed in by their legal owners while 20 260, for which licences have expired, were handed in. Subsequent to this, 23 724 rounds of ammunition were also voluntarily handed over to police, including 96 057 rounds of ammunition that were surrendered by owners whose firearm licences had expired," Mathe added.

Members of the public who are in possession of a firearm, firearm parts or ammunition are being urged to take advantage of this opportunity by handing in their firearms and ammunition either for destruction, or for relicensing at their nearest police station. This also applies to estate firearms, where the owners have died.

Without fear of prosecution

In addition, this period gives members of the public the opportunity to surrender firearms for which licences expired, without fear of being charged for possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition.

The current amnesty period was approved by Cabinet last year, after the previous amnesty period was hindered by the restriction of movement brought about by the Covid-19 lockdown.

"Despite this, the SAPS received 46 714 firearms and with the amnesty final date around the corner, the SAPS is hopeful that all people in South Africa will use this opportunity to their benefit as failure to do so will lead to criminal prosecution."

Mathe said it could not be emphasised enough that, as of 1 February 2021, those found to be in possession of illegal firearms, firearm parts and ammunition, would be charged and processed accordingly.

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