The proposed six-month firearm amnesty has hardly been announced, and already any sane person will harbour some serious doubts not only as to the intentions behind it, but also whether or not it will be a repeat of the previous one which saw hundreds (if not thousands) of surrendered firearms leaked to criminals by the police.
Considering that the SAPS does not exactly have a sterling record of safeguarding its own service weapons from falling into the blood-soaked paws of violent criminals (either through negligence or corruption), it is particularly bad timing for a police station’s SAP13 store to be raided and have its contents stolen.
Which is exactly what happened at Peddie police station on the night of 13 March. According to the Dispatch, the criminals gained entry through the roof of the store and proceeded to help themselves to 30 firearms contained within.
Another source provides details as to exactly what sort of weapons went missing:
- 9 9mm Pistols
- 12 R5 Automatic Rifles (5.56mm NATO caliber)
- 6 Shotguns
This comes during a time where firearm owners who have missed the 90-day deadline to renew their licences have been subjected to sub-judice threats of arrest by the head of the CFR himself. This comes during a time where law-abiding firearm owners are having licences refused for reasons so specious and unreasonable (such as machine guns not being allowed for civilian possession when the licence applied for was for a revolver!) that the CFR is actually acting unlawfully. This comes during a time where the authorities attempt to convince Parliament and the public at large that they can be trusted with taking into their custody firearms which were previously safely in the hands of expired licence card holders.
People who have done nothing wrong but to commit a trivial administrative infraction requiring nothing more severe than the payment of a fine. People who should not have to drag this issue to court in an expensive and high-profile High Court case later this month and in April in order to force the Commissioner to exercise his discretion, and allow the late applicants’ paperwork to be processed.
Unless this proposed amnesty is indeed a show of good faith intended to rectify this glaring inability of the SAPS to administer their own CFR in a manner that is in line with citizens’ rights to proper administrative justice and due process, then it should be left dead in the water lest more firearms are leaked into criminal hands.