Parliament has approved the new Firearm Amnesty period of six months, which begins on 1 August and will end on 21 January 2021. The previous period, which was also for six months and was supposed to end in May, was set aside due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the South African Police Service (SAPS) says that no indemnity will be granted for firearms used in the committing of any crime.

Gun laws are under the spotlight as some ask for stricter laws:

The Level 5 and Level 4 lockdown restrictions had somewhat prevented people from turning in their illegal, unlicensed and unwanted firearms and ammunition.

Police say despite the amnesty period happening during the lockdown, they have received 46 714 illegal firearms.

“However, we believe that there are much more firearms out there that still need to be surrendered and we are confident the response to the previous amnesty would have been even more resounding if it were not for the pandemic,” the SAPS said in a statement.

Police Minister Bheki Cele approached Parliament over the approval of the amnesty period. Parliament approved the application by the minister and published it in the Government Gazette on 31 July.

People can now hand in their illegal or unwanted firearms to 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 license,” says the SAPS.

Violent crime

According to the latest national crime statistics released by Cele on Friday, firearms are preferred weapons used in violent crimes. The police hope the amnesty period could lead to the reduced circulation of firearms and potentially reduce the scourge of violent crimes.

“The Firearm Amnesty envisages to see a reduced number of illegally possessed firearms in circulation in the country. It, therefore, provides firearm owners with the opportunity to hand in illegal and unwanted firearms which will result in the prevention of crime and promotion of safety to ensure people living in South Africa feel safe.”

All firearms handed in will undergo ballistic tests in order to ensure that they were not used for any criminal activities.