The Minister of Police announced his intention to declare a firearm amnesty for a six month period, starting 1 April 2017 and ending on 30 September 2017, to cabinet on the 1st of March.
2.11. Cabinet was briefed on the Minister of Police’s intention to declare an amnesty in terms of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No 60 of 2000), for a period of six months to maximise the participation of the community, and will commence on 1 April 2017 and end on 30 September 2017.
The amnesty will reduce the circulation of illegally possessed firearms which will in turn result in the reduction of contact crimes.
The amnesty will focus on the following holders of firearms and/or ammunition in South Africa:
a) Persons in possession of illegal firearms and/or ammunition in circulation, including those involved in one or more criminal activities; and
b) Persons who inherited firearms and/ or ammunition and failed to comply with the provisions of the Firearms Controls Act.
Details are beyond vague at this point in time, but judging from the sparse commentary above it would appear that the amnesty is aimed at people possessing unlicenced firearms procured through illicit means.
Considering that a major court case pertaining to the problem of law-abiding firearm owners sitting with expired licences is due to start in April, one would have naturally suspected any amnesty to be overtly designed with the purpose of allowing such people the chance at rectifying this administrative infraction.
Of course it is a far stretch to jump to any meaningful conclusions based on the above alone, but it is suspicious that any mention of expired licence holders is conspicuously absent from the Minister’s speech.
At this point it is too early to tell anything for certain, but I advise people react to this announcement with caution: don’t get excited quite yet.