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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


PICS: Police destroy over 18 000 illegal firearms in bid to curb gun violence

Police have in the past 12 months permanently removed 65 519 firearms from circulation.


Amid growing concerns over the surge in gun violence and mass shootings in the country, the South African Police Service (Saps) says it’s intensifying operations to detect and remove illegal firearms and ammunition from the hands of criminals.

This follows the recent destruction of 18 927 illegal firearms last Thursday.

Police have in the past 12 months permanently removed 65 519 firearms from circulation. Picture: Supplied

Illegal firearms

Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe says police in the past 12 months have permanently removed 65 519 firearms from circulation. Most of these firearms included handguns, rifles and shotguns as well as firearm parts and combination firearms.

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“These had either been seized during crime prevention and Intelligence-driven operations; voluntarily surrendered; or forfeited to the state during the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Firearms Amnesty period,” said Mathe in a statement on Monday.

Illegal firearms seized by the South African Police Service. Picture: Supplied.

Ballistic testing

Prior to the recent firearm destruction, Mathe said 20 590 firearms were destroyed in July 2022 and 26 002 destroyed in March 2022.

She confirmed that all 65 519 firearms were cleared after they had been subjected to ballistic testing to determine if they had possibly been utilised during the commission of any crime.

“Of these firearms, the majority of firearms were either surrendered and voluntarily handed over to the state during the 2019/2020 as well as the 2020/2021 Firearms Amnesty period, confiscated and seized by police during intelligence-driven operations, routine stop and searches as well as tip-offs from community members that are committed to ensuring that illegal firearms are permanently removed from circulation.”

Tip-offs

Police thanked the public for playing a big part in ensuring the safety of citizens, as some of the firearms were recovered as a result of tip-offs from community members.

“Illegal firearms pose a threat to the safety and security of the inhabitants of this country. The Service therefore remains confident that destroying these firearms will ensure that they are permanently removed from circulation, and lives spared.”

Illegal firearms seized by the South African Police Service. Picture: Supplied.

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