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Demand for firearm permits increases

PINI BOTHOKO
Dinah Marathe PIC. PHATSIMO KAPENG
The deputy commissioner of police and chairperson of Arms Quota Board, Dinah Marathe recently revealed that this year they have recorded a rise in the number of applications for firearm permits.

Speaking during the 2020 arms raffle draw held at the Botswana Police Service headquarters recently, Marathe said the rise has forced the Bboard to increase the number of permits from 50 to 75 this year. She stated that the decision was reached in order to meet the general public demand as demonstrated by the number of applications received. “More people, due to a host of varying reasons, are showing interest in having a firearm. These are mostly farmers and professional hunters. This year we received 12,453 applications of short guns as compared to 9,494 applicants last year. In addition, we have also received 8,537 applications for rifles, but we will only give 75 permits each respectively,” she said.

Marathe revealed that the decision was deliberatively taken to support government’s initiative of permitting the citizens to benefit from the wildlife and tourism industry. She added that such benefits include amongst others professional hunting, ownership of game animals and protection of livestock.  Furthermore, she stated that globalisation and the advent of advanced technology are presenting positive development as they can also negatively affect how, as the security custodians, they could effectively control the proliferation of arms and ammunition.

She, however, did not rule out the possibility for unscrupulous arms manufactures and dealers using the available technology to manufacture and even traffic illegal arms throughout the world.

“The same may find their way into Botswana. Some of these arms, including those legally manufactured end up being used for the perpetration of various serious crimes.

The need for vigilance and stringent measures in the

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issuance of permits for ownership of these sensitive tools is critical and cannot be over-emphasised,” she said.

However, Marathe said the Board has noted the fact that proliferation and misuse of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) continued to pose a threat to the social and economic development of many countries hence the need to prevent arms violence in all its form in the country.

She encouraged authorised firearm owners to use and handle their guns with caution, as use of illegal firearms in crime-related incidents remains a challenge. On the general handling of firearms, she said, it is a concern as they continue to receive reports of stolen firearms and misuse of the same by unauthorised persons.

She stated that those incidents often lead to acts of crime such as robberies and fatal shootings.

“This year we are not going to replace any stolen or misplaced fire arm. We encourage owners to buy a gun safe in order to safeguard their firearms at all times.

No guns should be put under the bed, inside the car or in wardrobes,” Marathe added.  She advised successful applicants as well as those who are already in possession of firearms to always have their weapons under lock and key and exercise vigilance when handling them.

“It is very important to note that safe keeping of arms and ammunition is a requirement under the Act, which if not adhered to can attract a penalty or fine not exceeding P5,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or both,” she revealed.



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