Nearly 1,500 guns handed in under firearm amnesty

Firearms handed in will be checked to establish if they were used to commit a crime. Stock photo.
Firearms handed in will be checked to establish if they were used to commit a crime. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/olegdudko

Almost 1,500 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition have been handed over to police since the start of an amnesty for illegal and unwanted weapons on December 1.

The weapons, including 1,248 handguns, 75 shotguns and 142 rifles. were handed over at various designated police stations.

“As firearms are the instruments commonly used in the commission of crime, especially violent crimes, it is very encouraging that people have taken advantage of this amnesty period,” said national spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidu.

“While the majority of the firearms have been handed in for destruction, we have also received applications for the relicensing of firearms whose licences have been terminated in terms of section 28 of the Firearm Control Act for 264 firearms including that of 247 handguns [revolvers and pistols], eight shotguns and nine rifles,” said Naidu.

The amnesty runs from December 1 to May 31 2020.

“People that are illegally in possession of firearms and ammunition are being encouraged to take advantage of this amnesty period to hand over such guns without fear of prosecution. However, any person that hands over a firearm that has been used in the commission of a crime will not enjoy such exoneration,” said Naidu.

Handed in weapons will undergo ballistic tests to ensure they have not been used in the commission of a crime.

Naidu said police had made adequate provision for the safekeeping of all firearms handed in.

Nine centralised storage facilities in all provinces were subjected to a risk assessment.

Designated amnesty officials and police were subjected to screening and vetting. Only those who met identified criteria were appointed to handle amnesty firearms.

“A detective investigative team has been established to investigate cases of firearms linked to crimes.”

When the amnesty period ends, firearms will be audited for the purpose of destruction, Naidu said.

“The process for the destruction of firearms will then be followed to destroy amnesty firearms, firearm parts and ammunition like it was done when the SAPS smelted over 20,000 illegal firearms on November 5.

“We are confident that more people will come forward with illegal and unwanted guns given that during the festive period we have received this many guns so far,” Naidu added.

He said an enquiry desk at the Central Firearm Register Call centre was established to handle all enquiries related to the amnesty. The telephone number to call is 012 353 6111.

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