Over 200 firearms handed in since start of amnesty period

Over 200 firearms and 2000 rounds of ammunition have been surrendered so far since the start of the firearms amnesty period earlier this month, the police ministry said on Saturday.

Police Minister Bheki Cele assured South Africans that “the firearms amnesty period is on track”, the ministry said in a statement.

The firearms amnesty commenced on December 1 and would end on May 31 next year. The original firearms amnesty gazetted on the November 27 had been amended to contain the number and names of police stations that firearms could not be surrendered to due to safety concerns.

There were 46 such stations and gun owners who wanted to surrender their firearms there could do so at neighbouring police stations. Continuous assessments on these stations would be conducted to determine their readiness. So far over 200 firearms and 2000 rounds of ammunition had been surrendered since the start of the amnesty period, the ministry said.

Firearms could be handed over at police stations from 7am until 5pm every day. All firearms would be subjected to ballistic testing to determine if they had been used in the commission of any crime. This period of amnesty also allowed gun owners with expired licenses to apply for new licenses.

Cele appealed for maximum participation. He believed this amnesty period would result in the reduction of illegally possessed firearms, the ministry said.

“I encourage all South Africans who are in possession of illegal or unwanted firearms to surrender them to their nearest police stations during this amnesty period, knowing they will not be prosecuted,” Cele said in the statement.

African News Agency