Illegal guns slammed as boy kills teen

Gun Free SA has called for stricter laws. Photo: ISTOCK
Gun Free SA has called for stricter laws. Photo: ISTOCK

A civil group has called for tighter restrictions on handguns following the tragic murder of a Grade 9 pupil in Limpopo, allegedly at the hands of a 14-year-old who is now facing a murder charge.

According to police reports, Edmond Mololo Raseona from GaMokgohlwa village outside Polokwane was shot dead while attending an extra mathematics class at Unit F in Mankweng at the weekend.

Captain Mohlaka Mashiane of Mankweng police said the teenager's 65-year-old uncle was also arrested in connection with negligent possession of a firearm while preliminary investigations revealed the gun was unlicensed.

Mashiane said the teen was being assessed by social workers.

"It is alleged the suspect stole his uncle's firearm from the safe and went to Mankweng for extra classes. He then started playing with it, threatening to shoot the deceased. The bullet went off and struck the deceased."

Yesterday, the director for civil organisation Gun Free South Africa Adele Kirsten said tighter restrictions, especially on handguns, had to be put in place to avoid easy access.

"This is just another example of a gun death that could have been prevented. The tragedy is that we now have a 14-year-old getting access to a gun and killing someone."

She said the law was very clear that firearm owners must store their guns safely, however, she said a stronger push was needed to restrict access and enforce the law.

Police spokesman Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said: "We are really worried about the situation. Innocent people should not be dying because of firearms."

Mohlala said even more concerning was the fact that criminals could gain access to firearms if they were not kept in a secure place.

"When criminals get access to a loaded firearm, people are going to get robbed, people are going to get killed. This is exactly what we do not want."

The SA Police Service report for 2015/2016 shows that authorities have struggled to contain illegal firearms, pointing out that 49010 firearms were reported lost or stolen, while 46712 were recovered in the last five years.

mahopoz@sowetan.co.za

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