Pretoria: As we near the end of the first of six months of amnesty for illegal and unwanted firearms, the South African Police Service is proud to announce that thousands of firearms and rounds of ammunition have been handed in at the 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 and handed in 1465 guns and 14 861 rounds of ammunition.
The firearms that have been handed in included 1248 hand guns, 75 shotguns and 142 rifles.
While the majority of the firearms have been handed in for destruction, we have also received applications for the relicensing of firearms whose licenses have been terminated in terms of Section 28 of the Firearm Control Act for 264 firearms including that of 247 hand guns (revolvers and pistols), 8 shotguns and 9 rifles.
The firearm amnesty began on 1 December 2019 and ends on 31 May 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.
All firearms that have been or are being handed in will undergo ballistic testing to ensure that such firearms have not been used in the commission of a crime/s before it can be considered for destruction.
The South African Police Service has made adequate provision for the safe-keeping of all firearms handed in.
There are nine centralised storage facilities in all provinces which have been subjected to risk assessment.
Designated Amnesty Officials and SAPS Officials have been subjected to thorough screening and vetting and only those that met the identified criteria have been appointed to handle amnesty firearms handed in.
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. 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 thousand illegal firearms on the 5th of November this year.
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.
Source: South African Police Service