Amnesty for gun owners in South Africa

South Africa guns on truck to be destroyed ©IANSA
South Africa guns on truck to be destroyed ©IANSA

South Africa has begun a nationwide amnesty for gun owners in an attempt to reduce armed violence in the country.

From 11 January to 11 April anyone in possession of guns and ammunition will be able to hand them in at police stations.

Several IANSA members have joined a team that will track the progress of the amnesty and assist in ensuring transparency and accountability. Natalie Jaynes from Gun Free South Africa reports that campaigners are delighted to hear the Minister of Police saying that the government's vision is a South Africa free from guns, where only law enforcement officials carry arms. On 15 January, South African Police destroyed over 80,000 arms. 

Gun control campaigners welcomed the melting of 80,611 guns by the South African Police Service on 15 January 2010. The weapons thrown into the furnace included guns recovered through the ongoing nationwide firearm amnesty, as well as obsolete police weapons and guns previously recovered by police from crime scenes. As the Police Minister said at the gun destruction, this action has saved at least one innocent life.

The nationwide firearms amnesty started on 11 January and will end 11 April.

“This is an important first step, but as the recent Angola football shooting showed, there are a lot of illegal guns in the Southern African region. Other countries in our sub-region should seek to match the target of guns melted today by South Africa, so that we can all enjoy a safer World Cup” said Joseph Dube, IANSA Africa Coordinator.


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