2009-03-31 : Last-minute rush to renew gun licences

http://www.pretorianews.co.za <br>
letters@pretorianews.co.za or submit letters via website<br>
Fax: 012 328 7166

Moderator: GenMod

2009-03-31 : Last-minute rush to renew gun licences

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2009-04-15 13:40

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 201C151086

Last-minute rush to renew gun licences
Graeme Hosken
March 31 2009 at 08:01AM

Thousands of people swamped Pretoria's police stations in a desperate
last-minute attempt to renew their firearms licences.

Since the start of the firearms licence renewal process in 2005, 620
000 applications have been processed across South Africa.

According to police, the number is believed to rise to more than 700
000 as those who left their applications until Tuesday - the cut-off
period - dash to firearm registration centres set up at police
stations across the country.

The sudden rush has sparked fears that those who do not make the
midnight cut-off time on Tuesday night will begin to dump their
weapons and ammunition to avoid prosecution.

This comes after police from the Gauteng Rapid Response Unit found
hundreds of rounds of ammunition dumped in the Apies River at the

This included bullets for various firearms, including automatic
assault rifles, shotguns and handguns, as well as hand-grenades.

The city's police stations most affected by the final rush included
Pretoria Central, Brooklyn and Lyttelton which saw hundreds of people
standing in queues outside the premises.

"It is absolutely crazy. I have never seen anything like this," said a
Pretoria Central police station firearms registry officer.

Captain Tessa Jansen, Pretoria Central spokesperson, said by 6pm, 1
000 applicants were waiting.

"It is extremely busy here. We have had to move desks so that we can
accommodate all with people sitting and standing in offices and
passages," she said.

She said to accommodate those who wanted to renew their licences on
Tuesday they would stay open past the midnight cut-off period.

"Everywhere you look there are people and we are not going to be able
to help them if we close at midnight," she said, adding that only
those living in Atteridgeville, the CBD, Hercules, Pretoria West or
Sunnyside could apply for their renewals at the police station.

Lyttelton police station commissioner Director Andre Wiese said nearly
500 people had arrived at the station to renew their gun licences. "It
is chaos and it is going to get worse," he said.

Captain Colette Weilbach, Brooklyn police station spokeswoman, said
they had been swamped by the number of people applying for the renewal
of their gun licences with more than 800 people applying over the

"Once again people have left their applications until the last minute."

Brooklyn police station's firearms centre commander, Superintendent
Theresa Spammer, said a major problem was that the station's firearms
training providers were fully booked.

"We cannot accept any more people and do not know what those who still
have to do their training are going to do.

"They are going to have to go to accredited trainers, but it is
probably going to be too late given that the cut-off day is Tuesday
and you need a training competency certificate to apply for a renewal
of your gun licence," she said.

She said those who left their applications to the last minute were
providing ridiculous excuses.

"These range from one person's cow being sick and the man having to
stay with his animal while he waited for his vet to return from
holiday, to someone living in isolation, having no radio or TV and not
reading a newspaper, so they did not know they had to renew their

"It boils down to people being lazy," she said.

Director Jaco Bothma, however, said they were satisfied with the way
the process was being handled.

"We are trying our best to address latecomers and Gauteng's police
stations will stay open until midnight tonight. Those arriving after
midnight will be classified as late applicants and must provide a
statement and documentation as to why they were late in applying for
the renewal of their gun licence.

"The only cases that will be accepted will be from those who provide
proof that they were out of the country, mentally or physically
incapacitated or unable to apply for renewal at the cut-off time
because of circumstances beyond their control. Those who fail to renew
their gun licences within the specific period face imprisonment of up
to a year, a fine or both," he said.

Bothma said: "Up until June 30, gun owners have the option of selling,
deactivating or destroying their firearms.

"This must be done by June 30 because from July 1 the repealed Arms
and Ammunition Act with be invalid, which means that a person who has
not renewed their licences or deactivated, destroyed or sold their gun
will be in the illegal possession of a firearm and can be sentenced to
up to 15 years' imprisonment."

o This article was originally published on page 2 of
Pretoria News on March 31, 2009
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
Site Admin
Posts: 1598
Joined: Sun, 2006-01-29 15:42
Location: South Africa

Return to The Pretoria News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest