President Mnangagwa has granted a new firearms amnesty to members of the public still in possession of unregistered firearms and ammunition so they can voluntarily hand these in at any police station and face no criminal charges.
The amnesty is designed to bring in all unregistered firearms to prevent them falling into criminal hands and being used in robbery, murder and other serious offences.
Last year 580 firearms were handed over in the first amnesty. In September last year, the President granted the first amnesty in line with Article 12 of the SADC Protocol on the control of firearms, ammunition and related materials.
The police will soon issue a comprehensive statement on firearms and ammunition that have been surrendered. In a statement, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said those holding firearms should surrender them at the nearest police station.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to remind the public that the 2023 Presidential Amnesty on voluntary surrender of firearms and ammunition is currently underway.
“As previously done in the year 2022 where 580 firearms and 260 rounds of ammunition were voluntarily surrendered to the police, the public and relevant institutions are reminded and urged to go to the nearest police stations and formally surrender all firearms under the listed categories,” he said.
Most unlicenced firearms or those with expired licences are held by representatives of companies who have closed, farmers, miners, hunters and individuals who are no longer in the same position that they were when they applied for firearm certificates, and relatives of firearm licence holders who have died.
Then there are unregistered firearms obtained through smuggling amongst other means, gun dealers or gun clubs holding unclaimed firearms that were surrendered to them for safe keeping for a considerable long period of time hence the need for such firearms to be surrendered to the State.
There are also security companies that are holding on to redundant firearms which are not being surrendered to the Zimbabwe Republic Police National Armoury for destruction by the State.
“No criminal charges will be preferred against anyone who voluntarily surrenders a firearm or ammunition during this period. The public is therefore urged to take advantage of this amnesty and regularise possession of firearms in terms of the Firearms Act, Chapter 10:09,” Asst Comm Nyathi said.
The police will also soon conduct physical checks and verifications on all residential and business premises where illegal firearms are suspected to be held.
Police recently said that more registered firearm owners are abusing their guns countrywide and those who use their legal firearms for anything but what their licences state risk revocation of their licences and face arrest.
Committing offences such as attempted murder, murder, armed robbery and poaching using registered or unregistered firearms and insecure firearms, is a serious crime.
It is also an offence to buy a firearm or ammunition without a firearm certificate. Failure to renew a firearm certificate is also an offence and in the event that a registered holder passes on, relatives should surrender firearms to the nearest police station immediately for safekeeping pending legal disposal by the executor of the estate. Herald