Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Gun Amnesty

I'm battling to think of a suitably sarcastic coment to go with this publicity stunt.

As the Mail & Guardian reports "Firearms handed in to police in three provinces in the first two weeks of a three-month amnesty period were mostly legal weapons." Did they really think that criminals would be lining up in droves to hand in their weapons?

The 10 000 guns handed in so far are a drop in the ocean considering these stats - in 2001 a total of 23 519 firearms were lost or stolen, an average of 64 guns a day. These figures, particularly those for firearm losses are known to be an understatement, as many people do not report firearm thefts or losses for fear of prosecution.

Even if the number does increase substantially by the end of the amnesty period I doubt it will make a real dent in the number of unlicensed guns floating around the country. In 2000 the Minister for Safety & Security estimated that there were between 500 000 and 1 million unlicensed firearms in South Africa - bearing in mind that government is probably under-reporting. (Source)

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