With only 15 working days left of the current firearms amnesty, South African gun owners are running out of time to hand in illegal firearms.
The amnesty, which ends on 31 January 2021, also offers an opportunity to surrender firearms of which the licences lapsed and allows owners to apply for new licences for these firearms. The purpose of the amnesty is to encourage people to hand in illegal firearms without being prosecuted.
The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SA Hunters) reminded all firearm owners to make use of the time that is left to hand in illegal firearms and ammunition for destruction.
“Anyone in possession of an illegal firearm that fails to make use of the firearms amnesty faces criminal charges for possession of such a firearm and a possible jail sentence of ten years,” said Fred Camphor, chief executive of SA Hunters.
During the amnesty period, anyone that surrenders a firearm, whether illegally held or one of which the licence expired, may apply for a new licence within 14 days. Once the licences have been approved, they may collect their firearms and ammunition from the police.
Firearms surrendered to the police will undergo ballistic tests for possible links to criminal activities. Persons surrendering unwanted firearms will sign a declaration of forfeiture that authorises the police to destroy the firearm. There is no compensation for surrendering a firearm.
All new licence applications must comply with the application requirements of the Firearms Control Act (Act 60 of 2000). This includes a valid competency certificate to use a firearm, other supporting documents, and a motivation for the intended purpose and use of the firearm (e.g., self-defence, hunting or sport shooting). SA Hunter said it will assist members and the public wit their amnesty queries.