The new Firearm Amnesty Period officially ends on January 31, 2021. All citizens in possession of illegal firearms and ammunition are encouraged to surrender them to the police before this date.

The Firearm Amnesty period began on August 1, 2020 and ran for six months, it is due to lapse at the end of January 2021. It allows members of the public to surrender unwanted firearms or firearms they possess illegally, as well as ammunition and/or firearm parts to the South African Police Service without fear of being prosecuted for the unlawful possession of this equipment.

Those with expired firearm licences can re-apply for their licence within 14 days from handing in the firearm. Expired licence firearm owners who do not make use of this opportunity may face prosecution at the end of the amnesty period.

The aim of this amnesty period is to reduce the number of illegal firearms and thus further prevent crime and promote safety.

According to the most recent National Crime Statistics, guns are the preferred weapon for violent crime. Reducing the circulation of firearms may potentially reduce the scourge of violent crimes quite significantly.

Within the last Amnesty period, which ran from December 2019 to May 2020, 46 714 firearms were surrendered to the police. In a statement, the South African Police Service (SAPS ) said this number would have been higher if not for the lockdown and the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic.

“The restrictions of Levels 5 and 4 somewhat prevented people from turning in illegal as well as their unlicensed and unwanted firearms and ammunition,” explains Colonel Brenda Muridili.

“This had prompted the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele to approach Parliament to approve a new application of a six months amnesty period. The approval of the new application has since been published in the Government Gazette on 31 July 2020, which now allows all persons with illegal or unwanted firearms as well as ammunition to hand them in at their nearest police station.

“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,” adds SAPS.

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.

For Firearm Amnesty enquiries, please contact FLASH Call Center at ‪012 353 6111 or email [email protected].

Picture: Unsplash

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