New Firearm Amnesty period approved from August

Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp
  • A new Firearm Amnesty period has been approved for six months, from August to January.
  • The period will allow anyone to hand in illegal or unwanted firearms to their nearest police station, in a bid to reduce violent crime.
  • The last amnesty period, which was hampered by the national lockdown, saw over 46 000 firearms handed to the police.

A new Firearm Amnesty period will give illegal firearm owners a second chance to surrender their guns. The amnesty period allows anyone with illegal or unwanted firearms and ammunition to hand them in at their nearest police station.

The previous amnesty period, which concluded in May, saw 46 714 firearms handed over to the police.

The new amnesty period would run from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021, after the previous period was hampered by the national lockdown regulations, said police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili.

"However, we believe that there are [many] more firearms out there that still need to be surrendered and we are confident the response to the previous amnesty would have been even more resounding if it were not for the pandemic," she said.

READ | Firearm amnesty: Cele urges MPs for another amnesty period for people to hand over their guns

This prompted Police Minister Bheki Cele to approach Parliament to approve a new application of a six months amnesty period.

Firearms are the "preferred weapon in the commission of most of the violent crime", based on the recent crime statistics, Muridili explained, and reducing the circulation of firearms may potentially reduce the number of violent crimes.

"We are urging people to take advantage of this period either to hand in those firearms and ammunition either for destruction or renewal of a competency certificate and a valid licence. It must be noted that no indemnity will be granted for firearms used to commit any crime. All firearms that have been handed in will undergo ballistic testing to ensure that they have not been used in the commission of any crimes, before they can be considered for destruction," Muridili said.

For Firearm Amnesty enquiries, contact 012 353 6111 or email on cfrenquiry@saps.gov.za.

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