The Commissioner of Police, Thebeyame Tsimako says the use of illegal arms in criminal activities has increased in Botswana.
In a report released recently, he says the development calls for a review of penalties contained in the Arms and Ammunition Act to be compliant with the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Protocol and to the approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the region. "Due to the pending amendment of the legislation, implementation to the approved SADC SOP is not possible," the report says. It stated that there is a pressing need for the introduction of a database to document legally owned firearms at the police Central Arms Registry. "This will assist in the investigation of crime and monitoring of permits and licences. The absence of a database means that verification of licences is not up to date and time
In 2008, the police issued 376 firearm permits for 189 shotguns and 187 rifles. The report explains that applicants for new firearm permits are dealt with through a transparent quota system. There is a quota board and it currently allows for a maximum of 400 new firearm permits (200 shotguns and 200 rifles). In 2008, 590 firearms were imported into the country showing a decline compared to 1,038 in 2007. The import permits were issued to local arms dealers, law enforcement agencies, safari companies and individuals who had established some companies in Botswana and had left their already registered firearms in their countries.